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How to maintain a work-life balance

13 Jan 17:00 by Richard Walters

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Maintaining a balance between home and the office, family and colleagues, play and work, isn't just healthy – it's good for business too. 

Finding your "guilt threshold" is essential for a marketing career to flourish. There is a sense that you can never truly switch off, that you need to have a 24/7 mentality and that work is the only thing that matters. And if you take your eye off the ball then someone else will snatch it away. 

Marketing has made huge strides in the way it deals with people wanting to find that perfect work-life balance, says Olgivy & Mather's chief marketing offcer (CMO) Nina Jasinksi, who is adamant that it is a boss's responsibility "to encourage people to find the space to live normal lives, whether they have families or not". 

She says: "When I was a new mum, I came back to work as fast as I could. I'd never encourage my staff to do that; you need space to start a family or have another life without worrying about work. So as a CMO, create a structure that not only allows people to switch off, but one that is able to fill those gaps in personnel seamlessly when they appear.

"The idea about having it all is a myth. And if you convince yourself that you can, you'll end up feeling guilty when things don't work out. My advice is to be realistic, compromise and be the best that you can be at that moment."

Simon Sproule, director of marketing and global communications at Aston Martin, concedes that he hasn't always got the work-life balance right. "But if they day job limits your time with loved ones, then prioritise quality over quantity," he says. "If your weekend comes down to one free Sunday afternoon. then devote yourself to your family in that moment. It's hard to say no, but a more content family life makes for a more fulfilling working relationship."

Teamwork is the essential tool for perfecting that work-life balance, according to Anthony Fletcher, the former Innocent innovation direction and now chief executive of snack-box company Graze. Having launched in the United States in 2013, he made great efforts to build his team with reliable executives who could make those gruelling round trips if he needed a break. "Use the team around you," he says. "There's no point in thinking you can do everything. In the long run it could be damaging to the business."

Top tips

  • Don't feel guilty about switching off; be confident and set parameters.
  • Build a strong team and delegate; you can't do everything yourself.
  • Learn to say no; that's difficult, but essential you're to be productive. 

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