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Balancing business, babies & bottom lines

February 8, 2008

It’s About Time: Balancing business, babies & bottom lines

Family Works Conference Co-ordinator Anna Mowat and her daughter Olive: choosing a work-life balance.

Employers who provide flexibility for their staff and encourage a work-life balance report improved productivity over all. This is a striking incentive for both employers and employees, and to further promote this, Family Works and the EEO Trust are holding an employer conference, It’s About Time: Balancing business, babies and bottom lines, at the Holiday Inn on Avon in Christchurch on March 7, 2008.

The conference includes a line-up of impressive speakers, workshops and support from the Department of Labour, CEO of Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Peter Townsend, Christchurch City Councillor Sue Wells, Lisa McKimm from ParentingWorx and the Families Commissioner, who see the positive impact of work-life balance upon the children of working families.

“Family-friendly policies and flexible work procedures are proving essential to the long-term success of companies,” says Family Works Business Development Manager Penny Taylor. “Research internationally shows very good outcomes, including improved productivity, less stress and fewer lost work days through sickness. Our experience tells us that young people appreciate having their parents involved in their school life, and there are real benefits when parents and schools work in partnership.”

This conference aims to bring employers from all sectors together to understand the pros and cons of flexible workplace practices and find out how these practices can impact positively on business. One of the conference draw-cards is the Great Debate, hosted by comedian Patrick Duffy, which promises to be an entertaining and refreshing look at flexible working hours and family-friendly policies.

Conference co-ordinator Anna Mowat talks about her own work-life balance experience: “Before becoming a parent, I worked long hours, mostly because I love working. Even after having my daughter Olive, I never intended to give work up. But I realised that I wanted to be good at both – working and being a parent,” she says. “It was a real dilemma for me, and I remember some good advice – you’re creative, be creative.”

Anna then began contracting and managed to negotiate that her daughter attends all her meetings and travels with her when necessary. “I was working with parents, so it made sense that I was one! Family Works' commitment to being family friendly has enabled me to become a permanent employee”. Anna’s daughter is now in day care from Mondays to Thursdays. Anna says, “Fridays are then just for us”.

Anna realises that this particular option isn’t always going to be practical for all employers or employees. “It is one example, and the conference, I’m sure, will provide many more that could create win-win-wins – for employers, staff and families.”


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