Are you one of the 2.2million Australians who left for work this morning with no idea what time you will leave tonight?
Or are you the working mum who sneaks out the door on time because you have to race to day care before they start fining you for not getting there before 6pm, while resentful colleagues note that you are ‘leaving early’?
Being in either of these groups isn’t much fun.
Working late – and being expected to – isn’t fun or reasonable for anybody.
Even when we think we’ll leave on time, more than one million of us get it wrong and stay an extra half an hour, and a further 1.2 million report staying more than one hour, according to new research from The Australia Institute, which runs Go Home On Time Day
The Australia Institute’s Executive Director Dr Richard Denniss said over the past twenty years we have heard a lot about workplace ‘flexibility’, but the problem for many workers is that child care, train timetables and life’s other commitments aren’t that flexible.
According to Dr Denniss:
This new data shows why so many Australians find it difficult to juggle their work life and the rest of their life. Working long, or very unpredictable, hours can place a lot of strain on people’s relationships as well as their physical and mental health.
The survey found that around 3.2 million Australians experience stress or anxiety as a result of their working arrangements, with 2.9 million experiencing a loss of sleep and 2.2 million reporting adverse impacts on their ability to meet family commitments.
Check out this great infographic.
If symptoms persist, take a dose of Go Home on Time Day. Love it.
Managing working time is one of our Five Ways Working Mums Can Take Better Care Of Their Mental Health which you can read all about here.
Do you go home on time?
If you do, are you often first out the door at your workplace?
Juliet Hudson is a mum to Ruby, six and Charlotte, four. She works in marketing four days a week. Today she shares her tips on part time work with us..
I know that for many working mums the sum of the parts don’t always add up. But I believe I’ve got it pretty good. Working part time, four days a week, in a role that’s interesting and has super-flexible work conditions. Stress levels are really low and I get to spend quality time with both children.
We moved to Australia on a dream of cutting back work hours and stress to enjoy an easier lifestyle. But with a three and one year old, no support network and a husband still working long hours, there was only one solution – return to work, at any cost!
My goal was to work fewer than the 40+ hours I was accustomed to, which would mean I could do at least some things well rather than lots of things badly.
Here are my tips on what to look for in a part time job.
1. Don’t take just any job
Despite holding down a senior role before becoming a mum, finding a part time job a was actually not as easy as I thought it would be. The first recruiter I saw said that because I was a mum returning to work I should expect to return to a much more junior level for longer hours! She promptly sold me an awesome marketing assistant role in dog food with a one hour commute each way!
2. Set your criteria for success and stick to it
Don’t convince yourself that dog food is a good thing. For me, a job has to be easily reached by foot or public transport, be three – four days a week, and have flexible start and finishing times. The work must be interesting, be in the area of health and offer development opportunities.
3. Number of days and total family wellbeing
I originally focused on three days allowing two days at home when the girls were home. This year only one day off is taken up with mumming and the other day off I have to myself – a blissful pleasure. Next year both girls are at school so five days is a real option. And for the right job, I’d seriously consider more hours. But I’m definitely convinced that five is too many and three – four days is best for our total family’s wellbeing.
4. Accept that often the numbers just don’t add up.
We don’t qualify for any childcare tax rebates. When the girls were younger, there were no places available at any of our local childcare centres so we hired a full-time nanny on the days I worked.When all my work related costs were added up, I barely break-even. Now we have an after-school nanny so the hard yards cost-wise are done!
5. That goes for hours vs. pay too.
Often my hours at work exceed hours paid, and my employer definitely benefits. I enjoy my work and take pride in doing a good job. I’m happy to do what’s required to ‘get the job done’. After all, I often worked overtime in my full-time employment. I have received some holiday time in lieu for extra workload. It’s important to agree the scope of a part time role and review regularly with your manger. Occasionally I agree to working extra days for the extra cash, but usually only for a set period of time.
6. Childcare has to be viewed as a fixed cost.
It’s a cost of living that we factor into our joint household budget much like electricity and weekly food shop.
7. Talk through and agree finances with your partner. Getting the monthly budgeting sorted is essential.
There just has to be some $funds available for your own reward and pleasure, no matter how small.
8. Being in control
For me this means smiley happy people at home, having a 100% capable and reliable nanny/afterschool care, having a hands-on partner, being home in time for book, bath, bed routine, having food in the fridge, having some real down-time, keeping up personal exercise and social calendar and completing major work projects well.
9. It’s about quality time not quantity time for myself and for the family
I’m definitely a happier mum and a happier partner for working part time. The girls understand that I will attend the really important school dates but not every school event – there are a lot! They’re fine with that. It also means that after four days at home, I’m rearing to get into the office. Thursdays are date night when I meet up with my partner after work (Like we did in the good old days) for an adult discussion, a drink and dinner. And you just can’t beat a Friday at the beach with a book and coffee!
Do these tips help you? Do you have any others? Don’t forget to vote in our poll!
According to a survey of 365 working parents in the UK, almost two thirds of working mums think men are discriminated against with regard to flexible working arrangements.
According to a Workingmums.co.uk survey for International Women’s Day, 65% felt men were not given a fair hearing over flexible working.
The survey also found that;
43% felt they did over 75% of the domestic chores and childcare.
Around 40% of working mums had taken a step back in their career since having children.
Only 29% had progressed in their career.
The rest had stayed at the same level
Women were concerned about the lack of flexible new jobs. A third felt trapped in the job they went on maternity leave from because they could not find a new job which gave them the work life balance they needed. A massive 89% had considered working for themselves to get a better work life balance, although 43% said they couldn’t afford to.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the union movement is currently conducting an independent inquiry into insecure work in Australia.
I’m lucky enough to work from home one day a week.
It really takes the pressure off when I need a handyman to stop by the house, collecting something from our local post office or doing a load of washing in my lunch hour. I also use what is normally my travel time to make it to the gym. This all makes me terribly productive while Miss Nearly Three plays in the sandpit at day care down the road and without an afternoon commute, we have an extra hour in the evenings together.
On the odd occasion when I’ve tried to work from home with Miss Nearly Three in the house, it has been an unmitigated disaster. I can’t speak on the phone without a demanding toddler interrupting me. I feel unprofessional and am constantly apologising to colleagues for the background noise. I know I am less efficient and feel guilty that I am using work time so unproductively. I then try and rectify this by working into the evening, and through lunchtimes to make up the time, but it is a vicious, unhappy cycle.
If I focus on the work and bribe Miss Nearly Three with extra episodes of Peppa Pig just to be quiet, then my ‘Mummy self’ feels awful because I’ve just plonked her in front of TV and turned her into a zombie. It often seems like a no win situation.
This is partly the reason I love my days in the office. They allow me to wear nice clothes, have adult conversation and get the more engaging part of my work done. Unfortunately, not every job can be done from home and even when they can, not every boss is supportive.
Workingmother.com has listed 15 surprising work from home jobs. It even claims a chef and a CEO can work from home. I’m a bit skeptical about the practicality of this and think maybe they are giving us false hope. I also think ‘face time’ is important in lots of jobs as it helps build team work and shared understanding of what needs to be done, I think it makes me understand my organization better and learn more about the work of others. Even if I am not working directly with many of my colleagues, the casual chats in the kitchen help me get better at promoting our work, which is a handy benefit in PR!
Do you work from home? What do you think works about it? What doesn’t work? Do you think employers get ripped off? Any suggestions to help me be more productive?