Balancing work and family is a juggling act faced by many working parents. Responsibilities to work and family often overlap, and that can make solving the riddle of balancing work and family that much more difficult.
Single-income households have decreased dramatically over the last several decades, as escalating costs of living have made it difficult for many families to get by on just one income. But working parents can employ several strategies, both at the office and at home, as they attempt to make the job of juggling commitments to work and family a little less difficult.
Around the office
A major concern many parents have as they attempt to balance work and family is that they are not spending enough time at home with their children or not paying enough attention to their kids or even their spouses when they are home. One way to find more time at home is to inquire about the possibility of working remotely. Advancements in technology that have made it easier to remotely communicate with clients and coworkers has led to an influx of work-from-home employees. While working from home does not mean workloads will diminish, it does save men and women the time they would spend commuting to and from work, and that translates to more time at home with the family. If working remotely full-time is not a possibility, men and women can ask if it’s possible to do so one or two days a week, as such a schedule will still provide more time at home.
Another avenue men and women can explore as they attempt to achieve a better balance between work and family concerns how efficiently they do their jobs. Chatting with coworkers about issues that do not pertain to work can be a great way to reduce work-related stress, but professionals who feel as if they never have enough time to get their jobs done in a typical work day should determine if they are working as efficiently as possible. Avoid too much water cooler chitchat and resist the temptation to check personal emails or text messages while at work. Such distractions can eat up a considerable amount of time over the course of a workday, making it harder for men and women to get their jobs done in a typical workday and forcing them to stay late or bring work home.
Men and women working to achieve a greater balance between work and family also can examine how willing they are to take on additional work. While coworkers love a team player willing to pitch in, routinely accepting extra work can drastically cut into the time men and women have to do their own jobs as well as the time they have to spend with their families. Helping coworkers out in a pinch is fine, but men and women should resist any urges to take on more than they can reasonably handle.
Men and women also can take steps at home to create a better balance between work and family. Working parents who want the time they have with their children each night to be more substantive can turn off their devices upon arriving home from work. Devices such as smartphones and tablets keep working professionals attached to their offices, and many men and women are tempted to check work emails or answer phone calls and voicemails even when they have left the office for the day. Parents should resist that temptation so their families know their focus is on them and not back at the office.
Another way to create a greater balance between work and family life is to make more efficient use of time at home. For example, rather than spending an hour each night making dinner, working parents can use a slow cooker so family meals are ready the moment everyone arrives home at night. That frees up time the family can spend together and gives working parents one less thing to do when they arrive home.
Working parents looking get more quality time with their families also can cut back on the time families spend watching television each night. Limit television time to an hour or two each night, using the extra time to connect with one another.
Many working parents strive to create a greater balance between work and family. While doing so is not always easy, men and women can employ strategies at work and at home to make the challenge a little less complicated.