The now popular work-from-home formula is part of the government and corporate bid to stifle the spread of Covid-19. But for the majority of women working from home, this new way of doing business has complicated the arithmetic between work and life.
Most women would like a better work-life balance. But getting that balance is never an easy task. For example, explains Isis Nyong’o, the co-founder of Women Work Kenya, the coronavirus has amplified the prevailing imbalance. “If you have children and work from home with your husband, you are more likely to experience more disruption,” she said during a webinar hosted by Absa Bank Kenya and the Graca Machel Trust.
Ms Nyong’o first got a taste of the hard work involved in juggling and balancing motherhood, marriage and work when she quit her job at the company five years ago. year. “I was a new mother and a new wife. But I didn’t want these new identities to interfere with what I intended to do when I left my job to go into entrepreneurship,” said she said. She found a way to be both present in all her networking ventures and in her baby’s life. “I would travel with the nanny and my baby. That way, if a meeting took longer than expected, I could just briefly excuse myself, go out and breastfeed my baby, and then come back without really losing a potential client or growth opportunity,” she said.
It takes a deliberate desire to achieve a work-life balance. This means that as an entrepreneur or career woman, you must take the initiative to set goals that will bring you closer to the type of family, social and professional life that you want. “Prioritize the most important things first. It involves planning and writing essential tasks. For example, you can select three things that will guide you in your day-to-day roles, both in life and in business,” says Ms. Nyong’o. Having a plan will save you from the imbalance of overwork without results. At the same time, using digital platforms to network and grow your brand can save you enough time for your social and family life. Digital channels will also help you maintain your visibility in the market.
The swinging pendulum
Asha Mweru, co-founder of Women Work Kenya, says you might be wrong if you expect everything in your life to line up on the same level. “I realized that I couldn’t have everything on the same level. A good balance will always swing up and down like a pendulum. There are days when I feel rewarded with my work and other days when I feel guilty for missing my child,” she says.
Mrs. Mweru says this can easily raise doubts about your status as a parent or spouse? “The trick is realizing that different responsibilities require different levels of attention.” She adds that you might get the best results, but find that you still end up with burnout.
“Renewing your energy should be a common denominator in your quest for greater balance,” says Mweru. That’s what worked for Kerry Goyette, entrepreneur and author of The Non-Ebvious Guide to Emotional Intelligence. She sees her work as a sport and her role as an athlete. “I work hard in small bursts, then I take time to relax. For example, if I work intensely on weekends, I will take time off in the following week or weekend,” she said.
One of the biggest hurdles women face in their quest for better balance is social and corporate dynamics. For example, some employers and parts of society are not conditioned to alleviate the imbalance. Consequently, women often have the worst difficulty managing their work-life balance in career contexts where there is little or no formal support from the employer. However, Dr Geneva Musau, director of human functions at Absa Bank Kenya, says helping women achieve a good work-life balance is part of a value proposition.
“With employers embracing work-from-home, it is now becoming essential for both employers and employees to incorporate work-life balance,” she said.