Envato parents discuss how they've embraced flexible working to help juggle the requirements of parenting and work.
When Manju Kiriyan reflects on life as a working parent, she emphasises the need to celebrate daily successes.
“There will be days when the stars will all align, and you should celebrate those. There will also be harder days where it's hard to align anything. Lean in on support from colleagues, family, and don't be afraid to ask for help! But know that it's okay to pat yourself on the back for a job well done and the accomplishments for the day that you’ve made.”
Our Senior Business Finance Partner, Manju is a parent to three children aged between 9 and 1.5 years old. She’s one of the many parents at Envato who do the work-life parenting juggling act each and every day.
“Setting realistic expectations has been hard,” she continues, “realistic in what I'd like to achieve and what is practically possible to achieve.”
“I think before kids, it was all about gaining satisfaction through achievements at work and balancing that with my life outside of work. With kids, it surprised me how I need to balance this, not only for my sanity but to set an example to the little eyes watching me do it.”
Empathy. Patience. Time management and prioritisation. The trick to achieving a healthy work-life balance as a parent is an ongoing challenge in the modern workplace. It’s a sentiment that Patrick Robinson, a Senior Development Operations Engineer, agrees with. “I’ve been much warier about over-committing myself. Before I was a parent of two, it was easy to say ‘yes’ or volunteer myself for extra duties to further my career or help someone out.”
“So learning how to say no, when to pair back my responsibilities and when to take time off to reset my focus and expectations of myself, has been useful to managing and achieving a balance.”
“The biggest challenge is striking the balance between the two and being able to separate work and parent-children time so that I can be fully present and in the moment,” echoes Natalie Hardie, one of Envato’s Senior People Partners. “And that’s much easier said than done.”
As the Harvard Business Review notes, we’re obsessed with finding the answer to a manageable work-life balance. It’s a noble aim, with many workers around the world still reporting that they find the juggle of work requirements and home duties daunting.
Australian recruitment consultancy Michael Page noted that providing staff with flexibility and encouraging them to talk with the employers about achieving a positive work-life balance can both go a long way to improving outcomes. Comedian and writer Lawrence Leung recently weighed in on the issue, calling for better paid parental leave for both parents and reducing stigma around stay-at-home fathers.
It’s no surprise then that we have a long track record of providing a positive work environment for its staff. As a company, Envato works hard to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all its staff, parents included. A noted industry leader with regards to supporting flexible-work and a regular honoree in the annual Great Places To Work Australia rankings, the business also has a recently revamped parental leave program.
During the 2020 global pandemic lockdown, this included increasing leave provisions as well as expanded mental health and remote work resources. “Working from home since the start of the pandemic, I obviously have that flexibility, but work and child care commitments seem to blur into one these days, and it’s harder than ever to achieve balance,” continues Natalie Hardie.
“I have been lucky enough to work for other family-friendly workplaces but I have also done my time in workplaces that have been far from family-friendly and so it’s refreshing to work somewhere where you feel truly supported.”
As the lockdown escalated, Envato gave people the scope to deprioritise, says Chief People Officer Michelle Ridsdale. “We knew capacity was going to be impacted, so we were upfront with our staff from the start, encouraging them to really focus on what were the most high-value tasks, even if that meant stopping other work in progress. We wanted our people to know it was ok to pause, for our managers to be clear on their delivery priorities.”
“At the same time, we also understood that as a company that’s had flexible working ingrained from day one, that working from home can be both a blessing and a curse,” continues Michelle. “So we’ve worked hard to help create opportunities for people to gather with peers and teammates, and worked hard to help remove the barriers for all of our people to be able to work comfortably from home.”
“Envato shows first and foremost that it cares about people, whether they have a family or not,” agrees Patrick Robinson. “Caring about employee health and not letting them burn out is key to good productivity and turnover, and this is especially critical to those with a family.”
And if you’re a new parent, trying to make sense of it all?
“Be kind to yourself, be prepared for things to change in a flash, and have plans A, B, C & D up your sleeve,” recommends People Manager Sally Sadler. “Also you don't have to do it all. What’s the saying - it takes a village to raise a child? Use that village!”