Finding your flex

Nicolette Rubinsztein has built her career as a senior financial services executive and nonexecutive director – all while working part time and caring for three young daughters. She shares her seven strategies for balancing a successful career and parenthood.

7 strategies to find your flex

Nicolette used her corporate expertise to find a solution to managing work-life balance, based on McKinsey’s 7S Framework.

1. Shared Values

What will make you happy? And what will make your family happy? The answers may be different for everyone, but Nicolette says it’s important for partners to be on the same page.

“You and your partner need to discuss and agree how you will approach parenting and work. Having the support of your partner is critical to enabling you to succeed as a career mum or dad.”

2. Structure

How will you structure your life? Are you able to work part time, or job share? Or work from home?

“I’m a fan of part time – it lets you keep a foot in the career door and stay up to date. But it can be financially challenging.”

“In an ideal world, I’d like to see a model where both parents work part time – that would be much more sustainable. Running two full-on careers in one household is very tough,” says Nicolette.

3. Style

This is all about creating a brand that enhances the perception of value to your business – building up brownie points that you can cash in for greater flexibility.

“Make sure you’re a star before you go on maternity leave, so you are in a stronger position to negotiate when you return. One way to do this is to build relationships by staying in the same company for a few years before you start a family.”

4. Skills

“Statistics show that having women in the workplace reduces risks, boosts morale and lifts profits and brand image – so don’t be afraid to be yourself.”

Her advice is to use your skills and plan ahead of time so you are in the right role, with the right company and the right boss.

This will make negotiating part-time arrangements easier.

5. Strategy

Childcare strategy is a key element of success – and a bit of a jigsaw, Nicolette says.

“You’ll probably need a combination of both parents, day care, grandparents or babysitters to fill in the childcare gaps.”

“But try not to overuse day care if you can help it, and make sure you have one on one time with your child every day.”

6. Staff

Nicolette says it’s important to get help with everyday tasks, to free up valuable time at home.

“Your partner will generally be the first port of call – but, if you can afford to, outsource some domestic work to create more time for work and family.”

“There are plenty of men and women in high powered jobs and children that are still doing their own cleaning. This may work for a while, but it’s ultimately unsustainable.”

7. Systems

Your systems can help keep you organised – whether it’s synched calendars to help you and your partner manage your time, a detailed ‘to do’ list, or online groceries delivered every week.

 

You can find more about Nicolette’s strategies for success at her website or in her book Not Guilty – a practical guide for juggling a family and corporate career to find genuine work/life balance.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This document has been prepared by Rowland Financial Advisory Pty Ltd ABN 66 163 488 480 who is an Authorised Representative of Financial Wisdom Limited ABN 70 006 646 108, AFSL 231138. Information in this document is based on regulatory requirements and laws, as at 1 July 2014, which may be subject to change. This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision. Taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws, rulings and their interpretation and may be subject to change. You should seek independent, professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information.