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      Work-life Balance

       

      How Today’s Businesswomen Strike a Work-life Balance

      (ARA) - Gone are the days when women were expected to stay at home to dote on their children and husbands. Today’s women have broken through the glass ceiling and are finding their way to corner offices around the country.

      Juggling life both inside and outside the home can be a challenge -- that’s why it’s important to strike the proper balance between work and personal lives. Luckily, there are specific strategies that women can implement to strike a healthier balance.

      Find Work that Works  - With today’s struggling economy and families requiring dual incomes, finding an employer that offers flexibility is often the key to both a successful career and personal life. And finding employers with this approach may be easier than you think. For example, The HON Company, a leading manufacturer of office furniture, understands the importance of family and instills a culture that enables work-life balance. Beyond creating quality office furniture that creates a comfortable, flexible and “home-like” work setting, HON offers its members perks such as flexible spending accounts to help offset the costs of daycare, local YMCA fitness center allowances and family-oriented activities.

      “A member committee plans monthly outings and provides opportunities for members to purchase discounted passes for local family events,” says Tim Heth, vice president of member and community relations for HON. “Additionally, members are allotted one hour of paid volunteer time each week to utilize in any way they wish -- from local Habitat for Humanity projects to their children’s PTA. Each benefit helps improve employee morale for both our female and male members.”

      “Make sure you go to work with someone that has the same philosophy as you do,” says Tammy Vasilatos, owner of Tammy Vasilatos CPA, LLC, a 100 percent female accounting firm in El Paso, Tex. Vasilatos has created a family-friendly work atmosphere by offering flexible work schedules to her employees. She adds, “Don’t give up what you want, because you don’t need to do that anymore. The women before us had to, but we don’t.”

      “I am more understanding of the importance of work-life balance,” says Michelle Horan, president and owner of Salka Office Furniture, a full-service office dealer in Meridian, Conn. “I am very flexible with hours and time off. I believe that taking care of good employees and customers is what leads to success.”

      Set Realistic Time Schedules - While work deadlines are a necessary evil that you must complete, will anything bad happen if the dishes don’t get done or the bed isn’t made every day? No - so don’t sweat the small stuff.

      Start each week with a realistic “to-do list” for both your work and home life. Check yourself each day to ensure that you are making progress and that your time allowances are in check. By the end of the work week, if you’ve completed enough tasks each day, your weekend can truly be enjoyed. And don’t sweat it if you didn’t get to the household chores. If you need to, you can hire a professional cleaning or landscaping service.

      Leave Work at Work - With cell phones, laptops, PDAs and home offices, it has become blurry when the workday begins and ends. Be sure to separate your personal time from professional time by turning off your connections to the working world and turning on your connections with your family and friends.

      Learn to Say No - If you’re a parent, you are probably a pro at saying “no” to your kids, so learn how to respectfully say no to projects that don’t fit within your schedule. Whether it’s taking the lead on a project at work, or coaching a soccer team, it’s okay to say no to projects that will bring you more stress than joy. As long as you are honest with your employers, they will most likely understand.

      “Don’t be embarrassed or apologetic that you want to have both a career and a family,” adds Vasilatos. “Employers just want good quality work.” Plus, if you are in over your head, you may not be putting in your best work anyway.

      While striking a work-life balance in today’s fast-paced world isn’t an easy task, by following these few guidelines, it is possible. “Now is a wonderful time to be a woman in the workforce,” says Vasilatos. “You really can have it all!”

      For more information on The HON Company, visit www.HON.com.


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