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Because the alarm went off? Because you had to get to work, to get your pay cheque, to cover your mortgage?

 

Maybe it’s a ‘yes’ for all of those reasons, but dig a little deeper and most people will tell you they work to ensure a better life for their family. The irony is though, that we are working harder to provide more for a family we are seeing less and less of.

In 2016, researchers at the University of Texas published a study in the American Journal of Sociology that examined the work-life balance of parents in 22 European and English-speaking countries. Parents in the US, Britain, and Australia were found to be less happy than childfree people in those countries. So does being a parent make you unhappy?

Not necessarily.

The irony is though, that we are working harder to provide more for a family we are seeing less and less of.

In places such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Hungary, parents were actually happier than people without children.

So what’s the catch?

The happier working parents had way more support, but more importantly, they had flexible working hours. The unhappy parents didn’t have access to any of these supports. It comes back to the working world being family-friendly. And if you’re a business leader, be that a CEO or another C-level executive, other workers will take your lead.

When you’re on holidays do you get back to every email and take every call (OK we’re all guilty of the odd email)? Do you skip parent-teacher meetings and school plays? Do you start early and work late, missing not only dinnertime but also your kids’ bedtime?

If you do all these regularly, chances are other workers will do the same. And yet Irish research, from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, found that women and men would prefer to work fewer hours per week for most of their lives, particularly during the phase of life when they have children.

So how do we make this work?

Last week I went to Amsterdam for a few days. It wasn’t a weekend trip. It wasn’t a summer break or a Christmas break. It was mid-week. And I’m a CEO. And my business is still turning double digit growth and my team still have jobs. The world did not stop when I took a break to be with family.

You don’t need to leave the country midweek to test this out. Finish work tomorrow at 3pm for Halloween, close the laptop, turn off the phone for a few hours, trick or treat with your kids and see what happens! Chances are the emails will still be there in the morning and guess what, you’ll still be as productive, in fact maybe even more so!

Leave at 2pm that Wednesday afternoon for the parent-teacher meeting. And tell your colleagues. Come into work at 11am that dark Tuesday morning in late December and tell your colleagues about the school play you were just at. You’ll be doing yourself, your family and your colleagues a favour.

In 2012, a palliative care nurse named Bronnie Ware wrote a famous blog that became a best-selling book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. She’d spent several years nursing people in the last 12 weeks of their life and the same regrets came up time and time again.

Regret No. 2 was: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard”.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence,” said Bronnie.

Are you on that treadmill? It’s time we got off it every now and then.

At Zarrdia, we don’t have endless pictures of employees enjoying free coffee or attending wellness events in swanky office spaces. Instead – we take time out to enjoy a coffee in our favourite cafe at a time that suits us! We believe in making people happier by changing the way people work, which gives more flexibility for our employees while getting better results.

We foster growth as our business grows and we want our team to grow with us.

At Zarrdia we offer perks that work. Flexibility is our greatest asset – we empower our employees to take control of their own work schedule, enabling them to ensure real work-life balance. We don’t take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to employee benefits – we tailor these based on what’s most important to each individual!

Please feel free to share your work-life balance tips in the comments below, so others can be inspired by your action. As always, reach out to us at [email protected] if you would like to discuss any of our current job openings.

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