How to balance work and family

Yoga class beginners know that maintaining your balance is tough. As do people who build a career alongside a family. Professional and personal lives call for a truckload of our time, our effort and targeted attention. So why not look at the following lifestyle tips? It may help you on your way to mastering the coveted work-family balance you’ve yearned for:

Make plans

Earl Nightingale, the so-called Dean of Personal Development, once said: “All you need is the plan, the road map and the courage”. He was obviously referring to self-development, but why not transfer the same inspiration to balance work and family life?

Tania Tanina, our HR Manager and mother of one, tells us, “My week always starts with planning. My husband and I have become strategists. We try to consider everything. Who’s going to drive our son to school? Who’ll bring him back? Which day, and at what time? We also have backup plans for emergencies”.

Tania continues to tell us, “I never hesitate to engage other people in my plans —the important thing is to let them know that you need their help. Sometimes, we just expect people to give us a hand, even though they might not even realize that we need it. Whenever you require help, say it straight away. When you schedule your day, let other people know that they are part of it—you don’t need to handle everything on your own”.

In one of our previous articles, we said that scheduling your day will make you happier. However, it will also shave some time off for you to spend with your family. Once you found your feet with planning, you’ll be surprised, how many things can be fitted into the schedule. Wise priorities and collective efforts will make your work-family balance problems lighten.

Combine work and family

Chaos is not always a bad thing. If you find it hard to separate your work life from that of your family, mix them up! There is a good chance that you’ll find a much-needed balance within all of that mess.

“I’m a lucky person, I work for a company with strong family values, —Tania Tanina goes on to explain. When I brought my son to the office, no one minded. I gave him puzzles, coloring books and toys and was able to work as usual. It was amazing, how smoothly everything went. Once, whilst interviewing a potential candidate, my son entered the meeting room to ask something he considered to be really important (of course, it wasn’t). He acted so naturally, with a serious expression on his face, that even the candidate was unfazed by my child being a gatecrasher at the interview”.

Center for Creative Leadership states that parenting makes better employees. In both cases—at work and with kids—we leverage similar skills, like multitasking, focusing on details and dealing with stress. So why divide these spheres if they can coexist in harmony?

Outside-of-the-box hours

The majority of people begin their working day between 9 and 11am. It traditionally ends somewhere near 6 pm. But when you need to balance work and family, it may not proceed as it should.

“When we moved to the countryside, I realized that I spent a heap of time driving to work and back home—Andrei Grynko says. With all the traffic jams I was wasting 4 hours a day just sitting in my car! Obviously, when I came back home in the evening I was completely out of steam and just wanted to go to bed”.

The research shows that we spend approximately 50 hours per year in traffic. Just think of all those fun and interesting things you could do instead! But here you are, locked in your metal cage, watching life passing you by. If you have problems with a work-family balance, these wasted hours will get you especially frustrated.

For sure, you can make a couple of weekly calls, listen to your favorite tunes, while waiting in jams. Yet wouldn’t you be better to eliminate your time spent gazing at traffic lights? Free up some moments to enable you to relax and indulge in reading useful articles like this one? Andrei came up with a smart decision to enable this to happen:

“I wasn’t happy about my schedule, so I came up with the idea of getting up earlier. I started to leave for work before the majority of commuters did. It was tough, because I’m not an early riser. But I’ve got used to it, and now I spend two hours less on the road. I also come home earlier now, again before the end of day rush hour, which means I can play with my daughter and do other interesting stuff”.

Fight the stereotype

Even in the most progressive societies, there’s many that firmly belief, that the role of a mother is the greater of the two. This conditioning can result in difficulties concerning shared responsibility of child care, rendering it a struggle to combine work and family life. This unbalanced burden can weigh heavily on either one’s shoulders.

“There should be no division on a working parent and a stay-at-home parent. You’re a family, so you need to do everything together, —office manager Oxana Malynoshevska says, —I came to Beetroot in 2014 and in 2015 I became the mom of a lovely girl. Now I feel like I have two kids—my daughter and my company. Probably, this is the reason why it’s easy for me to balance everything out. But then, I think that the greatest secret is in shared responsibilities. When I went back to work, leaving my daughter with her dad, I felt a bit awkward. I was raised with a fixed belief, that small children should stay with their moms only. But, it turned out that when you change roles, nothing falls apart. This experience has helped me to balance work and family. It also made our relationship stronger than before”.

Find your way

Young kids aren’t a career obstacle, in reality, it’s the other way around, careers shouldn’t steal your family time. With a certain amount of input along with sheer determination and vigor it’s possible to keep everything balanced.

If you feel that you’re stretching yourself to the limits, whereby the fusion of family and work life isn’t a harmonious blend—give yourself a break and change your strategy. Then dust yourself down and carry on!

“The coolest thing a client ever did for me…”

Building a good, warm relationship with developers is crucial, both when it comes to in-house or extended teams. Communication shouldn’t zero-in on discussing work things only. There’s a lot of soft factors around the core business that also affect the end result. Teams that treat each other like friends, teams that engage in genuine, informal chats (about hobbies, for example), compliment each other, participate in team-building activities and share happiness-increasing internal culture which, effectively, adds grease to any processes they pursue. All these soft factors affect how smoothly we can cooperate on the hard tasks, how easily we’re able to sync on important questions. We asked some of our developers to recount their coolest moments concerning cooperation with international clients.

Work-life balance

Robert Gres, Middle Web Developer

“There is one thing that is exceptionally cool about my clients. Actually, it is inherent to all Swedish people. They have their priorities right. They know that work is just work, so they are chilled about it and don’t let it loom over their personal lives. And they show real understanding when it comes to our work-life balance. It creates very comforting and encouraging working atmosphere, which I appreciate.”

Atmosphere of friendliness

Yevhenii Kriuchko, Content Management Team Lead

“During my first year our client invited us to Sweden to get to know each other better. Before we set off, they sent us t-shirts, hoodies, hats and Swedish books—all branded, naturally, but still looking cool. We were overwhelmed with such a warm welcoming. But even that was not the end of the story. They took us to the Vasa museum—the one where sunken ships rest. So there we were, wearing new hoodies, holding onto our new books and staring at giant remains of formidable ships—that was amazing!

But I would say that all those things are not as important as the atmosphere of warmth and friendliness inherent to all our meetings with the client. I mean hoodies and t-shirts are cool of course, but I feel more moved by the way they congratulate me on any occasion—my birthday, my wedding and so on. It proves that presents are only material embodiment of genuine concern and support we enjoy from our clients.”

Hackathons

Artem Utkin, Senior .NET Developer

“Our clients nurture us in an intellectual way. Every couple of months they organize hackathons in Malmö for all team members. The next one will be about machine learning and it’s really exciting to be a part of it.”

Food Exchange

Ivan Lebediev, Software Developer

“My clients are young, enthusiastic and energetic people full of different awesome ideas. They have a dream to make it to Chernobyl and to stand at the shield of Mother Motherland (which is a giant statue in Ukraine). They also have a dog in the office, which is pretty cool. We have a good tradition of exchanging national treats. They send us traditional Swedish food, we send them Ukrainian food. So it’s like an evergoing international turnover of good food to keep us all full and happy.”

Project management

Vitalii Utkin, Front-End Developer

“I’d say that the coolest thing our client are doing constantly is their amazing project management. They treat us like we are a part of the family. Once they invited us to Sweden. Of course, we accepted the offer and set off, expecting to stay at hostel or something. Imagine how astonished we were, when we found out that we are staying in the best suit of the best hotel in Gothenburg. We felt like kings. And then these guys showed up and taught us to play Shuffleboard. So this stay in Sweden didn’t feel like your typical business trip. It was like we came to visit our old friends…and do some work, of course.”