It’s certainly been an adjustment, but below I’ve outlined what I’ve learnt so far and how I believe other people can make scenarios like this work for them.
Juggling Multiple ResponsibilitiesPrior to returning to OCG, and after a career that has seen me work in both banking and recruitment (in New Zealand and in London), I started my own health supplement business. I now split my time between working three days a week at OCG and the other two, running my business.
With so many employers now encouraging flexible working hours, there are lots of opportunities in most sectors, including Accounting & Finance. This means there are plenty of roles that would be ideal for mums (and dads!) returning to work, university students and other people looking for flexibility.
So how do I juggle work, as well as my other commitments (such as my home business)?
Time Management and Focus
Managing my time effectively and prioritising is key. Each night I set up what I need to achieve the next day and block out my calendar so that I can focus on my key tasks. This ensures that I do what is most important and avoid getting distracted, and the same goes with my personal business.
There are various time management methods and what works for me might not work for someone else, but ultimately make sure that you prioritise and plan each day (and in some cases, each week). Also ensure that you allow for any unexpected events which can easily pop up and ruin productivity.
Have an office or a dedicated working space at home
Having a laptop and sitting at the kitchen table doesn’t work for me, as I’d just get distracted! From my experience, it’s key to have a home office or a dedicated working space at home. Having this area means that when you’re sitting there, you can differentiate between work and home, and focus on what you need to do at the time.
Finding The BalanceFor me, the main challenge has been finding the right balance. Returning to work, whilst making time for other commitments and still having a personal life.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that your paid role must take precedence over other commitments. To gain their trust and support, you will need to assure your employer that’s the case, so they’re confident that you will deliver what you need to in your role. In my case, my employer is always my priority and ultimately, I can always communicate delays and manage my customers for my business.
It’s normal to feel stretched at times and I think it’s fair to say that most of us do at some point. In this situation however, it’s really important that you recognise if you’re feeling this way and deal with it as quickly as you can before it affects another area of your life.
When you’re juggling multiple responsibilities, it can be especially hard to take some time out for yourself. Whether it’s a daily walk or reading a book, it’s important to have some time aside to do what you enjoy doing and disconnect from work.
It’s also important to remember that any change is an adjustment and it can take some time to work out how your arrangement will work best. Be realistic about what you can achieve and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It might take some time to find a balance, but with the right approach, you might be surprised at how fulfilling and manageable, being back in the workforce and juggling multiple responsibilities can be.
There are many reasons why people work flexibly, whether you’re working part time to also look after your children, studying or have a side business, think about why you are and keep focused on this.
Closing ThoughtsThere is a belief that employers aren’t open to flexible working, but I’m finding most organisations are receptive to the idea of engaging someone with a side business (as long as there are no conflicts), as well as returning mums and students.
The key is to be upfront as early as possible with any schedule changes and provide solutions to put employers at ease and ensure you are still delivering what you should be.
If you’re looking at returning to the workforce and looking for Accounting & Finance jobs to suit your situation, get in touch with the team.