Are you struggling to keep abreast of the many demands running a household and working full-time brings? Do you bemoan, frequently and loudly, the lack of work-life balance? Is it time to make a change to regain that balance?
If achieving work-life balance is important to you, here are three questions you need to ask yourself. Write down your answers to questions 1 and 2. Revisit them the next day to ensure you have captured all your thoughts correctly.
1. What does work-life balance actually mean to me?
Perhaps it is having flexibility in start and finish times at work, so you can pick the children up from childcare, cook dinner for an elderly parent or attend the gym. Is it the ability to take time off during the day to attend a sporting event or an award presentation at your child’s school? Do you want to play an important role in your child’s life by helping out with school events? Write a list detailing what is important to you.
2. What type of flexible work arrangements would best suit me?
Flexible hours may or may not be the answer; perhaps you would like to reduce your days by entering into a job-share arrangement, or by reducing to part-time work. Taking time in lieu, working staggered hours, or working from home may be preferred. List the impacts such changes would bring to your life, as well as the benefits.
3. How can I establish whether my employer will support my desire for flexible arrangements?
Identify, read and understand the policies and procedures at your workplace, as well as any relevant laws that apply. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman website (www.fairwork.gov.au/Employee-entitlements/Flexibility-in-the-workplace/flexible-working-arrangements), requests for flexible working arrangements for employees in the national workplace relations system must ‘be in writing, explain what changes are being asked for and explain the reasons for the request’. Check the site for eligibility criteria and additional details.
If you are seeking more freedom to express yourself as an individual, or want to spend more time with family, relatives and friends, flexible work arrangements may be the answer to achieving the elusive work-life balance.