Posted tagged ‘work life balance’

Update this?

May 8, 2012

Update this.

For those who don’t know me, here’s a little information about my recent activities. Over the bank holiday weekend I took my family out to the park, went to a museum and also caught the new Avengers movie (for an unrepentant geek like me, it’s a fantastic film). At various points over those three days I found myself checking out Twitter and sometimes posting a short message or two about what I was up to, commenting perhaps on the great sporting events which were on offer or just RTing something random I found interesting or amusing.

Usually this activity was accompanied by a familiar discussion between my husband and I: who on earth is interested in any of that?

My other half has accepted that my online activity is something that professionally I get a lot out of. I am not as prolific a personal tweeter as some, but usually post something up a couple of times a day, and invariably these missives are work related. I have a small but growing network whom I swap thoughts, jokes and links with, and sometimes I also tweet about things in my life which take place outside of te regular 9-5. But should I? Should I be mixing the two in some strange life/work cocktail which results in a sore head and regrets, or should I instead invest in some bricks and mortar to build a bit of a chinese wall between them? (more…)

Family or Fortune?

February 2, 2012

Things which are mutually compatible: lamb and rosemary, Morecambe and Wise, Tango and Cash.

Things which aren’t: Cesium and water, high heels and a night of dancing, Eric Pickles and a positive story about local government.

I’d like to propose that bringing up a young family and pushing forward in your local government career is moving into the second of these groups.

I can already hear local government press and HR departments up and down the country crying out in opposition, quoting the schemes in place to support working parents such as flexi-time, TOIL, childcare vouchers and more.  Outwardly we may protest otherwise but, drawing on personal experience, over the past few years I have found it increasingly difficult to reconcile my day job with my more important evening and weekend job of being a parent.

Looking around the office seems to back up my concerns.  Those who are young and successful are invariably those without children.  Those who have children and are successful usually are older, with children at least in their early teens.  Those who – like me – are young and have children are finding it tough at best to squeeze as much success out of their careers as they might otherwise like.

I want to be clear of course that in no way, shape or form do I blame my children for these challenges, they are the best thing I have and ever will do, regardless of whatever else happens in my life and career.  However, I’m keen to explore what exactly is the problem, and whether it is in any way controllable.  Why do those of us with young children find the balance so tough?  Is it as simple as people think, is it in any way particular to local government, or is it something that simply has to be accepted and worked through? (more…)

Working from home

July 18, 2011

Sorry for the bad hand-writing; my washing machine was on...

If there is one thing that all local government staff can agree on it’s that no-one can agree on the appropriate place for ‘working from home’ within the local government world.

Too often the response of colleagues when you tell them that you will be working from home the next day is to raise their hands to the side of the heads, put their index and middle fingers in the sky and then bend them as they say that you’ll be “working” from home then.

Despite this there are plenty of good reasons for why both the organisation and the individual should work from home and very few reasons why they shouldn’t. Working from home benefits the work life balance, allows for more focused work and saves the council money. There are, of course, different ways to manage the home working.

Personally, I like to work from home when I’ve got a big piece of work to do. I like the ability to put on my own music, get comfortable at my dining table and just delve into it. Without the inevitable distractions of an office environment I estimate increased productivity of at least half. I don’t do it very often but sometimes the act of clearing your diary and working from home can be deeply beneficial.