Being a working parent is a delicate balancing act which challenges even the most organised.
In the last 10+ years a lot has changed with men striving as much at home as they do work. Gone are the days where a 9-to-5 was followed by coming home to dinner and playing ball before bedtime with the little one – men are more actively involved at home than ever before, cooking meals, doing laundry and generally having more quality family time.
Research from Open Mind Strategy about health and wellness goals for men and women at different life stages found that younger men (Gen Zers and Xers and millennials) considered “work-life balance” as their top priority. Between their demanding careers and busy home life’s, researchers explain, guys are feeling crunched.
In the run up to Father’s Day, we caught up with our Group Managing Director, Charlie Sell , on how he manages to thrive in the best of both worlds – as a father in a leadership position in his career.
AG: What does fatherhood mean to you?
CS: Values, Love and warmth. I was told by a great family friend once; this is all we can offer our children and then we need to let them find their way.
AG: What 3 key habits/behaviours do you adopt to help you to stay on top of things at work and home?
- Be engaged – No emails / calls when with the kids and no kids when reading emails / taking calls
- Prioritise jobs at home and in work. Tick off the must-do jobs first
- Regular breaks – focus on one thing for 2 hours max and then reset the mind / energy
AG: What is the best thing about fatherhood?
CS: Witnessing and helping to shape the personality and values of the most important people in my world
AG: Do you get anything other than pens, socks and coffee mugs for Father’s Day?
CS: Homemade cards, trying to cook breakfast, doing a day trip of my choice – going to a rugby match.
AG: Since becoming a father, did your professional life change? If so, how?
CS: Life changed from work life balance to work life blend. i.e., before kids I would work in fixed blocks throughout the day and evening. Post kids, work blends in with my life so I can be much more flexible.
AG: A lot changed since the pandemic, for instance, hybrid working/flexible working. Has this helped you manage work life and home life? How so?
CS: Yes – the days I work from home I can work around helping take kids to school / dinner etc.… However, also love and appreciate going into the office 2 or 3 days a week to build relationships, enjoy our culture and learn from others.
AG: What were your post-pandemic learnings RE home and work life?
CS: It is possible to be a good parent and advance your career. Its ok to blend the two and not live in guilt. Trust should be given not earnt.
AG: What will a typical work from home day look like for you?
- 5:00am – I naturally wake up and spend an hour ticking off key emails / work
- 6:30am – 7:30am – I do some HIIT training with Orange Theory Fitness
- 8:30am – I take my kids to school
- 9:00am – 12:30am – I work
- 12:30om – 1:30pm – I have lunch with my wife, take the dog for a walk
- 1:30pm – 3:30pm – work
- 3:30pm – 4:00pm – pick up my kids from school
- 4:00pm – 6:30pm – work
- 6:30pm – 8:00pm – with the family
- 8pm onwards – time with the wife, see friends, do life admin
AG: What advice would you give to a new Dad who is concerned about how to balance work and home life and still perform highly?
CS: Be kind to yourself and don’t feel guilty about spending time with you wife and children. Look at life as a work life blend and therefore no problem going to a health visitor meeting in the morning or working later another day. Early risers can tick off work before kids wake up, late night people can do work once they are asleep.
AG: How does your company support parents to strike healthy balances with work and home demands?
CS: Here at Arrows, hybrid working is now the norm which allows parents to have flexibility around family life. We have no internal meetings on Fridays so people can finish early if they have achieved their weeks goals. Parents can also take advantage of childcare vouchers that we issue to them. We also have family days – inviting the family to our offices at Christmas and during summer. There is no judgement on booking slots for child activities. Lastly, there are flexible benefits to cover healthcare and laptops as well as support for children.