Blog RSS
Border Background
  1. Work-life balance: Collaboration NOT Separation

    December 9, 2014 by Jenna

    I can remember a time when I lived and breathed work. It wasn’t healthy. I was pulling longer hours out of fear of not looking productive enough, and while I had a passion for that industry I eventually started to resent it. My employer at the time did provide many benefits within the workplace, however, outside of work I may as well have been a ghost to my family and peers.

    For every individual work-life balance is different. Some of us love to work the longer hours because that is the lifestyle that they prefer. Others need to have a more flexible workplace that allows parental care/leave, opportunities to work from home etc.

    The problem that we have with the concept of ‘work-life balance’ however is that we imagine work and life as two separate entities that are not meant to intertwine. Therefore it becomes a constant struggle of which one do I choose as opposed to letting them co-exist.

    I am very fortunate now to work for an employer that provides a very flexible workplace that meets the needs of all staff members. And because of this I was able to achieve some extraordinary goals in my personal life without having to compromise work commitments over my personal goals.

    Both can work together if we let it, it just requires certain changes and planning to make it successful.

    When I was training to trek towards Everest Base Camp, I would often have to do altitude training in Mosman in the mornings, and one night a week I would do endurance training with a woman’s walking group. I would sometimes bring a giant backpack with me to work so that I could go directly to training without worrying about rushing home first and arriving at training late. During down time I could enjoy spending time with friends and family as a reward for getting through the working week and training requirements. It also required discipline to maintain momentum and setting a routine for myself daily to reach those goals.

    Of course there were times when I would need to work back later than expected, or perhaps I would have an off day and sleep in and not go to the gym, after all we are only human! But for the most part I was able to maintain both work and personal success and I kept my workplace informed about my goals and what I was trying to achieve.

    You may not always have an even allocation of time to do everything you want to do, but be realistic with what you are trying to achieve on a daily basis and what it important for your to spend time on. If you are juggling too much or agreeing to take too many things on at the same time, you will burn out and be disappointed in yourself. That is another important piece of advice that I have come to discover about myself over the years is to know your limits. This will help you better establish whether you are capable to put your hand up to take on another assignment or goal, or whether it will be much easier to delegate it to someone who is more than capable and available.

    Working for a job that you love and enjoy is also a key factor in making your work and personal life co-exist. Otherwise if you are working 80% of the time at something you no longer have a passion for, it can affect your mental well-being as well and create a negative mindset. This can therefore effect relationships with those around you. If you love what you do, you will find that your attitude and outlook on life can really make a difference for you in a positive way.

    How do you get your work and lifestyle to collaborate? What steps do you need to take to ensure you get the balance that you need?


  2. Working After Baby: how have childcare issues affected your return to work?

    December 6, 2011 by Jenna

    Now, at the risk of offending stay-at-home dads, this is and will probably remain for some time to come an issue that almost universally affects women. 

    As a woman, and a mother of a three-year old, and expecting another baby soon, I feel very fortunate that: 

    a) I work for a flexible and supportive organisation and boss who enabled me to return to work at a time and pace that suited the changing needs of my small child 

    b) I was, after some effort and waiting and getting in early, able to secure a place two days a week for our son at a local childcare centre we remain delighted with 

    c) I have parents and parents-in-law who are besotted with their grandson and are able to care for him when extra help is needed 

    I was also very pleased to read the comments of two of the respondents to our most recent online pollHow much did childcare issues impact on your return to work? – reproduced below:

    – “Keeping a very organised schedule and ensuring our daughter attends a very good Early Learning Centre, childcare has not impacted on my return to work. I am now back at work 3 days per week. My daughter thoroughly enjoys the Early Learning Centre that she goes to and I thoroughly enjoy being back at work. The childcare centre follows a weekly learning program and my daughter loves all the activities that they do.” 

    – “A combination of a very supportive family, as well as great flexibility as far as my husband’s working hours, meant my return to work (when the baby was only 3 months old) was seamless. It did however mean that I hardly ever saw my husband!” 

    However, the news is not that great for a huge number of women. Another poll respondent recounted her struggles: 

    – “Because child care was too expensive, I relied on my parents and grandmother to look after my children. I also took on casual jobs where I had no super, no regular and secure income and no stability, just so that I could do the hours that suited my family’s needs. I also worked night shift so that I could be home with my children during the day; my husband then took over at night. Again, this was very difficult for me and my family, but financially it helped as the night casual rates were higher.”      

    Even for women with family support and access to care, the decision to leave their child can induce intense feelings of guilt and a deep sense of “missing out” during their child’s early years. A contact I spoke to regarding her experiences said that while she had no return to work issues relating to finding care (her father looks after her baby at home three days per week) or her company’s parenting policies, she finds it extremely challenging to juggle work, home, commuting and caring for her family, not to mention emotionally wrenching every time she departs. She would in fact, if she could afford it financially, remain at home. 

    An extensive poll conducted earlier this year by the online businesswomen’s network group sphinxx “found that children and careers fail to mix. Almost half of those surveyed (48%) said the cost of childcare had negatively hit their careers but not their partners – 71.6% said their partners hadn’t been held back at all. Almost three quarters of respondents (74%) agreed that quality child care is hard to come by.” [Source] 

    The poll also revealed that 92% of respondents cited the rising cost of childcare as a top policy issue in the next election. The founder of sphinx, Jen Dalitz, said “said both political parties should be seeing childcare as a top policy issue if they were ‘fair dinkum’ about helping women stay in the workforce and support more choices in the childcare industry. ‘It’s crazy that you can deduct expenses for laptops, iPads and cars, but receive no tax breaks for family day care or in-home care, especially in emergencies,’ she adds.” [Source] 

    Promoting the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Women Business Owners Poll, Ita Buttrose commented last week that “businesses are mad not to have more women in decision-making roles and has urged them to pay for nannies to ensure their female staff don’t fall off the career ladder. ‘I am a great believer in packages that include some support for the mother, whether it is a nanny or a housekeeper or whatever,’ she said. ‘You might not get the shares, or you might not get the car, but you balance one out against the other. Of course companies can do it. Women who want to continue their careers and have families should ask for that package from their employer and the workplace needs to think about how they are going to offer it.’ [Source]                                                      

    Further illustrating this issue, another respondent to the sphinxx poll commented: “Issues to do with availability and cost of childcare plague our mothers group. So much so that two teachers, a HR professional and an IT Manager have decided they cannot go back to work. That is four highly skilled women now removed from the workforce because childcare in Australia is too complex and cost prohibitive. And this is just one small group – there are many more. If the government is honestly trying to address female participation rates in the Australian workforce and fix the skills shortage, they will look at childcare as a matter of urgency.” [Source]

    What do you think? What has your experience been? Leave your comments below …

    ________________________________________

    Challenge Consulting has a Facebook page. Click the FB icon to “Like” us now and stay in touch re our new blog posts, weekly poll, links and more …


  3. Why Hiring a Temp Can Be the Best Business Decision

    July 19, 2011 by Jenna

    Last week’s blog post focused on the qualities and characteristics of top temps.

    This week, we continue with our temp theme, but from the perspective of companies and the various reasons the choice to use temporary staff makes good business sense for them. 

    “The number of temporary employees in Australia has grown dramatically over the last 20 years with just over 400,000 people currently employed on a temporary basis.” *

    Whilst a business may and should have a stable core team, there are many instances where additional staff members may be needed. A temporary employee can fulfil many objectives within a business. They can provide cover for absent employees, expertise and skills where there are gaps, project or leadership expertise if/when required and general flexibility for employers, who are cautious about making a permanent hire.

    We polled our client readership last week and asked: “What is happening in your business now that makes hiring a temp the best solution?”

    Results:

    #1 = Ad-hoc needs, eg: special projects, tenders, etc – 36%

    #2 = Seasonal workload increases – 27%

    Head-count constraints – 18%

    Inability to source suitable permanent staff – 9%

    Supporting flexible workplace planning practices – 9%

    As Jeff Doyle, Adecco Group CEO says, using temporary staff fosters great flexibility, and “enables companies to adjust their labour supply to meet the peaks and troughs of their business needs and it helps them access a range of specialist skills as and when required. In addition, companies use temporary labour to save costs”. **

    Hiring a temporary candidate can enable businesses to afford someone that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford to hire permanently. Temporary candidates are often highly qualified and experienced and they can add enormous value to a business in the short term.

     “Temporary employment is a strong favourite at the big end of town with all Top 200 ASX listed companies supplementing their workforce with temporary employees.” *** 

    Another major reason, though not one of the questions asked in our poll, that companies hire temps is the ‘risk reduction factor’ of a ‘temp-to-perm’ arrangement.

    This employment is very common, especially of those employers ‘cautious about making a permanent hire’ cited above, whether this caution stems from head-count or budgetary constraints, or a previous disappointing permanent hiring experience.

    Our Temporary Recruitment Consultant, Melissa Lombardo, asked Karli Scully, Macquarie Leasing’s Customer Service Supervisor, why hiring temporary staff works for her team’s needs: “So we can try before we buy … plus we don’t know what the volume of work will be in the future.” Risk-reduction and flexibility are both part of the equation here!

    In a temp-to-perm arrangement, a temporary contract is awarded as a trial to assess a candidate’s suitability for a role before hiring them permanently. On the whole, there is less risk involved in hiring a temporary worker. If they choose to hire an individual on an hourly or daily rate, they won’t lose out financially if the candidate suddenly decides to leave the business.

    So, how do businesses source their temporary workforce? Well, the “number one method of finding suitable staff for organisations of all sizes is through recruitment agencies”. **** If your business requires temporary staff members for any of the reasons discussed here, our 20+ years of temporary recruitment expertise is here to fulfil your needs. Learn more about our temporary staff services here. 

    [Sources: *, **, ***, **** from www.hcamag.com article “Demand for Temp Labour in Australia Explodes”]




SUBSCRIBE Join Our Mail List
Border Background