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Managing your workload as a working parent

Our panel discussion on managing your workload during the pandemic and excelling afterwards.

The panel discussion was recorded on 7 May 2020 and hosted by Doyenne and Leaders Plus.

Managing workloads in senior roles can be challenging at the best of times, but with the added stress of full-time childcare during the pandemic lockdown, all parents are feeling the strain. Our panel discussed managing teams, managers, and home life during lockdown, but also during "normal" times.

Hear some concrete ideas to tackle your own workload, strategies to cope during the pandemic, plus expert advice to ensure your career can flourish in the future. 

While our brilliant panel shared advice on achieving gender equality in the home, having uncomfortable conversations with managers about workloads and prioritising self-care and setting realistic expectations. All advice came with the caveat, that it's not easy. We have to have difficult conversations with others and even ourselves, to realise better outcomes for our own sanity and productivity.

As well as the panel's suggestions in the video, we crowd-sourced advice from the webinar attendees, and they did not disappoint:

Victoria: “My main tip is to prioritise daily and to stick religiously to my core hours wherever possible.”

Chris: “For anyone managing childcare for toddlers in a small flat, my top tip would be to agree in advance each day what it might look like (times for lunch, etc) - we find whichever of us is working needs to carefully plan moving working location in the house throughout the day so that our daughter doesn't see us and start crying because we can't be with her!”

Jen: "During lockdown my husband and I have been working reduced hours and doing shifts (I work mornings, [he] works afternoons). We've been really strict with meetings and calls as much as we can so we're only working in our designated times so we can focus 100% on the girls when we're not working and have a healthy balance. We both have something in our signature and out of office.”

Kate: “We are also not ‘home-schooling'. We are creating a safe space for our families and if learning happens and we can enable it, then great.”

Rachel: “I agree with Vicky on practising a challenging conversation. I have a fantastically supportive coach with whom I work through conversations in advance.”

Rachel: “A top tip from my line manager is to block out in your Outlook calendar when you are / aren't available so it's transparent to colleagues. I'm lucky enough to work in an organisation that has been incredibly supportive in adapting their policies quickly and trusting us to do our work to the best of our ability, rather than expecting a set number of hours.”

About Our Panel

Vicky Fox is Director of Regulation and Insight at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Vicky is responsible for IPSA’s Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses, which sets the regulatory framework for MPs, as well as all policy, validation and assurance work. She previously worked for the Electoral Commission and as a government lawyer. Vicky is a keen advocate for part-time and flexible working.

Rebekah Bostan is a Research and Data Operations Manager, leading a multi-disciplinary analytics team focused on African oil and gas developments at IHS Markit. Having worked part-time for the last 15 years, Rebekah is an advocate of healthy working cultures that ensure women remain part of the corporate workforce to create much needed diversity of thought and experience through to board levels. She was a 2020 Timewise Power50 winner. She writes about work-life balance at www.diversity-puzzle.com.

Karen Eyre-White is a productivity coach and founder of Go Do, a coaching business which helps busy, overwhelmed people get more done. Karen was previously in Government as Chief Executive of a safety regulator. She set up Go Do following the birth of her daughter.

Susannah Hardyman is the CEO of Action Tutoring, an award winning education charity. Susannah works part time and is a Leaders Plus Fellow. Susannah was inspired to start Action Tutoring following working in the charity sector and as a private tutor, and recognising the potential to make the benefits of tutoring available to those that might not otherwise afford it, using volunteers.

Our co-host Leaders Plus is a social enterprise supporting leaders with young children to continue to progress their careers. They do this through an award-winning Fellowship Programme for parents who don't want to choose between following their ambitious career dreams and enjoying their children. The Fellowship includes a senior leader mentor, career acceleration support and a supportive network of cross sector peers.

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