The European Business Review

ACTIONS, NOT WORDS   Yes, Working Parents Can Succeed – And You Can Help Them Do So

There are behaviours that can have meaningful impact: things that every working mum and dad can do, regardless of role, function, or family composition, that make it easier to perform, and happily so, at home and at work.

Organisations of all sizes and types struggle with the “working parent problem”: how to retain, and foster best performance amongst the significant percentage of their employees who are raising young children. At the same time, working fathers and mothers themselves are provided little practical, realistic guidance on how to meet the simultaneous demands of office and home. For companies that do want to “win through talent”, the key to success lies not in defining the problem – but in pointing parents, particularly new and expectant ones, to the specific behaviours that will help them manage it.

Succeeding on the job while raising and truly being present for your children? It’s all about work-life balance: about giving the two parts of your life equal weight. But hang on a moment: instead, which has a positive ring… but implies that we should always be working, conjuring up an image of at-home employees shackled to their smart phones, of mums returning client emails during bottle feeds. Maybe is better – until, of course, we have to solve that multi-variable problem. Perhaps we leave it more ambiguous and open-ended, and simply call it “balance”?

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