I'm reading a lot of posts about work-life balance and how staff are treated in start-ups, and can’t help but wade into this truly important conversation.
First-hand I can say it's hard to scale and make all the right decisions with such fast paced growth. But it's not fair to say all start-ups are the same, either.
Many start-ups and scale ups share their big news on LinkedIn and I'm well and truly one of those founders! I might go on about growth and pick and choose what's shared, and normally hide the other side - the huge hard work, incredible stress and desire to be perfect for customer, team family challenges and so on, but that’s the nature of social.
I’m extremely proud to have a hardworking team at OnBuy who are motivated to bring all the plans I have envisaged for the company to life and for that I’m grateful. It is therefore of the utmost importance to promote a healthy work life balance and flexible schedule so that each and every one of them can reach their full potential both in work and in life, in a way that is supportive of their personal situations. As an active dad myself, I am doing my best to learn what works best for everyone and to create a supportive, open environment.
Of course, we may make mistakes along the way, but we'll continue to improve and offer even more solutions as we grow to help our team, but all of my team know they can talk to me and they can get support if and when they need it.
I personally co-locate week-on, week-off between Manchester and Poole and so rely heavily on this flexibility myself. In Manchester, I'm with my amazing partner, who works full time, and our three young children. We, like many others out there, are growing careers around our children, and we balance everything carefully to ensure we all get the best work/life mix for us.
I have an amazing 8 year old son in Poole from a previous relationship, and for that second week I'm essentially a single dad. I have shared equal day to day care with my son, so 50 percent of the year he's with me.
In Poole I'm the one late to the first meeting in the morning due to traffic on the school run. I'm the one having to pull out of arranged meetings, due to child care issues, and needing to go and get him.
I'm the one leaving the office dead-on 5pm to relieve the child-minder, or for two days per week actually leaving at 2.40 to get him from school, because I want to see my boy grow up too.
I work in the evenings to balance my work life balance and I do send emails past 8pm, with a very clear message saying "Just because these are my work life balance hours, doesn't make them yours... reply when you're working”. Sometimes, 8pm is the only time to get my thoughts down on a page but I am careful to reiterate to my teams, and individual team leaders, that there is no expectation to respond - or even read! - out of hours.
At OnBuy, I feel I'm fortunate to have this perspective. I try to drive all of my team to find their balance, and support many mums and dads to get the right patterns that work for them. I expect dramas at home, because I have them, too. I expect child care issues, because I get them too. I simply want to create a trusted environment where these issues can be faced directly, with no judgement or persecution and without the added stress of being chained to a desk.