Virtual Offices Help Fathers Maintain Work-Life Balance

LOS ANGELES—Yesterday we looked at CareerBuilder's annual Father's Day survey, which revealed that new dads aren’t maximizing paternity leave—and we looked at how virtual offices can help.

Let’s dive into some additional study findings as well as some helpful tips for fathers on paternity leave. (This tips could also apply to dads who work from a home all year round in a virtual office.)

The CareerBuilder survey reveals that 22 percent of fathers say their work has negatively affected relationships with their children and 26 percent said work negatively affected relationships with significant others. How can dad get a better work-life balance going?

Alex Green, general counsel for CareerBuilder and father of three offers some tips. (My comments are in parentheses.)

Talk about it: Remember that communication is a two-way street. Besides just listening to what is going on in your family's lives, talk about what is going on in your office, so everyone understands why you are away or have to do some work when you are home. (Of course, if you have a virtual office you can be more flexible as to when and where you work.)

Scheduling is key to success: Add every family member's schedule to one master calendar so there are no surprises. Also, save vacation days for important events and talk to your supervisor about flexible work arrangements. (Virtual office technologies will let you take mini-vacations if you can’t get away for a full vacation with your new family.)

Establish a "no work" zone: Put down your Blackberry and avoid checking e-mails from the time you arrive home until after your children have gone to sleep. (Then you can tap back into your virtual office and get more work done if you have to—but only if you have to.)

It is OK to say no!: In addition to actual work, sometimes activities associated with your job can take a toll on your free time. Determine what additional activities you can turn down and which are necessary so that you can free up more of your time outside of the office.

Consider flexible work arrangements: (This is what we've been saying all along!) More companies are offering telecommuting options, flexible hours, condensed work weeks and other arrangements. Approach your boss with a game plan of how the new arrangement would work and how it can ultimately benefit the organization. (Who knows? He may be cool with you working from your virtual office more often than you think!)


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