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How is anyone meant to achieve work-life balance these days?

24 May 2019

How does one successfully maintain a psychological equilibrium when conditions in the workforce can pull you in so many different directions?

There has been a recent surge in interest in the plight of working parents and actions taken to address those plights, and rightfully so. Diageo Ireland recently hit headlines when it revealed that its male employees will soon be able to avail of 26 weeks’ fully paid paternity leave. It has a a global policy that guarantees all female workers a minimum of 26 weeks’ paid maternity leave.

The company said the new policy was the latest move in its sustained effort to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Yet the move definitely had its detractors, who claim it’s excessive.

Do you think it’s excessive? Do you really know what it’s like being a working parent and the challenges therein? This is what Careers editor Jenny Darmody asked when speaking to Dr Maria Quinlan about her photography report, entitled ‘Photovoice’, on this exact topic.

She carried out work with Deloitte to highlight and explore the experiences of working parents within the company.

“There’s a lot of research which suggests that parents face a difficult double-shift when it comes to their roles as workers and as parents – and that combining both of these roles can be stressful and challenging,” said Quinlan.

Part of the problem, Quinlan explains, is that companies can still tacitly encourage ‘always on’ culture. This aligns with figures recently released by Ranstad US, which found that 43pc of employees feel compelled to reply to their manager’s requests while on holiday.

So what creates this kind of culture, this compulsion to always respond? The reasons are myriad and complex. For the above example, it could be a perceived idea that parenthood could erode your career prospects if you aren’t careful, begetting a need to overcompensate.

You may also feel strain to overwork and overcompensate when you get a promotion. Paradoxically, you may find yourself rushing head first into your new role despite the fact that you have already received a major confirmation of your capabilities and, as such, are entitled to a grace period. If you find your work-life balance falling apart amid your newfound seniority, read this handy guide from Hays’ Nick Deligiannis explaining how to keep an even keel.

Also this week in Careers, we had jobs announcement news from two great firms. ILC Dover revealed plans to create 70 jobs in Cork, while Carne Group confirmed details of the 250 roles it plans to bring to Kilkenny and Wexford.

Finally, we heard from Amgen’s Cathy McDonough, who told us how the graduate programme at the life sciences giant really helped to kick-start her career.

For more on any of these stories, check out the links above.

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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