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  1. Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    December 16, 2014 by Jenna

    We are delighted to share this week’s blog from Virginia Herlihy, who works for an organisation called How Do We Do It. They provide in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. For those of you that may not know her, here is her background below and we hope you enjoy her featured blog:

    A note from Founder, Virginia Herlihy

    My passion for helping working parents find a successful way to manage their work and home lives has meant I’ve witnessed first-hand the issues that organisations face in attracting and retaining talent, particularly female talent.

    As a working mother of two and a successful small business owner, I’ve personally faced the challenge of combining work and family.

    It’s been critical for me to examine and understand my values and develop strategies to achieve success and satisfaction in both areas of my life.

    My background in executive coaching, training and group facilitation means I can help both organisations and parents acquire those skills and strategies– to facilitate greater work-life harmony and success.

    I’m proud to say, the feedback we’ve received means the programmes and coaching we’ve developed, work.

    Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    •  45% of couples with children under 2 are both in the workforce
    • 66% of couples with primary school children are both working. Australian Financial Review 2011

    Today many couples are jointly responsible for sharing their work and family responsibilities, so getting some kind of work/life balance can be a real challenge. If you’re a working mother you probably feel that family and work are competing (and constant) demands. You’re likely to be juggling your own expectations and responsibilities about how you should perform in both areas, as well as those of your colleagues and family. While mothers might get most of the attention when it comes to the challenge of balancing family and work, fathers also struggle to juggle their responsibilities and aspirations.

    So, how do YOU do it? Here are some tips that you have time to read because they are short and that we know help, from our experience with working with hundreds of working mothers and working fathers.

    • Strategy 1

    Continue to identify, acknowledge and appreciate the benefits of what you’re doing that is working for you/what you gain from the choice you are making to be a working parent.

    •  Strategy 2

    Remind yourself that you are not alone, and your challenges are normal which is very helpful in itself.  Keep actively talking to others like you and sharing experiences. Your network and the tips they share will help normalise your experience.

    •  Strategy 3

    Stop tuning in to others negative judgements/biases of how you are supposed to make being a working parent work. You can only get this right for you and your family/work.

    •  Strategy 4

    Get clear on your version of success as a working parent by answering theses questions – What does success look like for me as a working parent? What’s most important to me about my life? What’s most important to me about my working life?

    •  Strategy 5

    Avoid the language of compromise/trade off/sacrifice, which is negative and implies loss. Instead recognise that you are making choices, which have consequences and benefits so consciously use the language of choice.

    •  Strategy 6

    Use a scaling technique i.e. rating things from 1-10, low to high – to assess how much you want to do something out of 10 in terms of your energy, motivation, ability, how important it is to others etc. You can also use this to get perspective and rate how important something is in terms of your life overall so that you are less stressed by it. Your intuitive response will give you useful information.

    •  Strategy 7

    Check your energy around choices you are making/people with whom you are interacting and see whether or not you are being drained or filled.  When you have choice, in your personal life particularly, you can limit your exposure to draining people, situations.

    •  Strategy 8

    Remember to position shift – consider the decision/situation from different perspectives, your position, the other’s position.

    Author – Virginia Herlihy, Founder and Director of How do YOU Do It – Working Parents Programmes tailored to your business.

    Contact details:

     Who is How Do YOU Do It?

    • We deliver in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. We’re specialists in helping businesses support their talent.
    • We help businesses solve issues including female attraction and retention, flexible working strategies, as well as “on and off ramping”.
    • We help working parents find success at work and at home and balance their responsibilities in both areas
    • The result is a win/win for both businesses and parents

  2. Confrontation and Conflict – How to deal with the difficult co-worker

    December 17, 2013 by Jenna

    I have always had trouble with face-to-face confrontation. And I personally don’t believe anyone actually enjoys confrontation, especially if it is between a fellow colleague. But I also know first-hand of what avoiding it can do to you.

    In earlier years of my career, in more junior roles I made the assumption that since my role was less authoritative within the company that being a ‘yes’ man made me appear more cooperative and supportive in the workplace. In reality it created the following:

    1. I didn’t present the opportunity to have a voice – I was unable to share new and creative ideas that could potentially boost more business because I just did what I was told.

    2. I was passive – If I potentially saw  flaws in a process or procedure, I would not speak up about it to avoid issues that may have otherwise saved the business time and money.

    3. I felt dominated by fellow colleagues – By not being able to speak or stand- up for myself in situations I was often dominated by other colleagues and in turn was unable to shine to my fullest potential.

    4. I bottled up emotions – Bottling up emotions can often make you a ticking time bomb, which often resulted in me breaking down at the oddest of times because I had been letting something build and hadn’t dealt with it properly.

    Does any of this sound familiar to you when conflict presents itself?

    At this time of year, when deadlines need to be finalised and the pressure is high it is important to keep your cool. Understand that you are not always going to see eye-to-eye with everyone, we are all individuals, but ignoring that person or hoping a conflict will go away may not always be an effective method either. And it could result in you overreacting because you have bottled up your emotions for so long, as per point 4 above.

    So how can you take control of difficult scenarios before they get out of hand? Confront them head-on, and remember:

    1. Be respectful of differences and listen carefully: It is important to understand that there are different perspectives on situations and that people can get offended by situations or behaviour differently to you. You never know, you may have initially created the tension without even realising it! It is not always the matter of I’m right and you’re wrong so take care and give respect to that person when they are telling their side of the story and try not to cut them off or interrupt them constantly during the confrontation. You would like to be treated with respect so make sure you are showing a level of professionalism towards your colleague, not matter what.

    2. Always take action and communicate directly when conflict occurs: The later a conflict is addressed, the more embellished it can become in one’s mind and it can end up being blown out of proportion. The same applies to office gossip or discussing the issue or frustration with other co-workers and not the direct source. Hearing about someone else in the office being mad at you by a third party can’t help but cause personal offence and can create unneeded tension and bitter feelings.

    3. Be mindful of your tone/language – If you approach the conversation ‘hot headed’ most likely chances are the level of tone in the conversation will increase and could create a screaming match! So try and keep the level of conversation even and calm as well as professional when describing a situation or how you feel.

    4. Ask for help – In some circumstances if a conflict is still occurring you may need a third party individual to sit in on the discussion to provide an unbiased opinion/outcome. This could be your manager, a human resources professional, or a manager from a different department.

    5. Make sure the conflict is resolved – Did you shake hands at the end of your meeting? Is there anything in writing (perhaps email etc.) that confirms the outcome of this conflict and steps to follow to prevent this from happening again? Are you leaving your door open so that in the event that similar feelings/circumstances arise again that you can keep the communication open?

    The more that I have learned to be able to confront issues as they arise and have open communication between others, the more grateful I have been. I have also learned a lot about myself, how to treat others within the workplace and personally, which has saved everyone a whole lot of frustration, angst and provided a much happier workplace for us all.

    Have you ever had a conflict with a co-worker? What steps did you take to address the issue? And what was the outcome?




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