Integration – my view on flexibility
“It was important for me to integrate work and family life together to allow me to be a father figure for my two young daughters and also support my wife to return to work” says Peter Kennedy from CCaSS.
Peter notes that as physical locations become less important, the flexibility to work from home allows him the freedom to share the responsibility of picking up his daughters while also being able to travel for work to meet client demands. “I feel that, provided I am doing great work for my key stakeholders, I am able to take advantage of flexible working options. One day it may be flying to Perth to meet a client, while the next I will be picking my daughters up from day care.”
At times client expectations have been cause for tough conversations. “Being on the red-eye to get back home to my family is not ideal and when you are heavily engaged in a project you sometimes need to remind a client that a full day on site is not always what is required. Rethinking the design of work is important to ensure that desired client outcomes and flexibility are both achievable”.
In contrast to the term work/life balance, Peter prefers the term ‘integration’ as he feels that there is almost an implicit bias that is applied to the word balance. He notes that small changes in our language can have a significant impact on how we behave. “My tip to those who want to take advantage of flexibility is to find a way of integrating your professional and personal goals to provide a sense of meaning and purpose. I think one of the challenges with traditional work-life balance practices is that there is usually a trade-off, which may never be ideal.”