School holidays tips the work-life balance of 'parentpreneurs'

School holidays can be a test of how flexible a workplace is.
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School holidays can be a test of how flexible a workplace is.

With school holidays entering their second week, working parents still have five days left of fitting routine-free kids into their working schedule.

Emily Richards, a director of Dunedin-based recruitment agency Human Connections Group and a mother of two,, said the school holidays were made less painful by a "very child friendly" office. 

Her six-year-old daughter will spend the next week at work with her, kept occupied by games and puzzles in the office. 

MYOB general manager Carolyn Luey says business owners with children look at success differently.
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MYOB general manager Carolyn Luey says business owners with children look at success differently.

"In previous roles that I've had, and with manager who didn't have children, there was a lack of understanding for the responsibilities that come with being a parent, and the impact school holidays can have on one's work life," she said. 

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The importance of flexibility is reinforced by MYOB's latest business monitor survey of over 1000 small business operators which found 36 per cent defined business success as the "flexibility to do what they want", and only 11 per cent defined it as making a good profit. 

MYOB general manager Carolyn Luey, also a mother of two, finds working full time keeps her better organised at home and in the office, despite its challenges.

Business owners with children tend to have a different opinion of what success looks like, Luey said.

"Let's not sugar coat it - I know first-hand that juggling young children and a full-time career is hard. 

"But it's also extremely rewarding and I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with wanting the best of both worlds."

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As a recruitment expert, Richards said she has seen parent job hunters place more worth on flexible working hours than on high paying salaries. 

"For parents, flexibility is worth more than money any day of the week and the discretionary effort parents employees give back to managers for that type of understanding is worth a lot of money."

An Ernst & Young report found that women in flexible work were the most productive members of the workforce. They wasted only 11.1 per cent of their time, compared to an average 14.5 per cent of the rest of the workforce.

But Richards warns working parents to be careful of "running parent syndrome", where a working parent's plate gets piled too high with responsibilities. 

"Never be embarrassed that you're a busy parent," she said.

 - Stuff

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