In today’s always-on, non-stop world, creating a positive work/life balance takes a concerted effort. We desire success in our careers as well as the time to reap the fruits of our labor. Achieving this harmony can be extra challenging for working parents. Many working parents truly do rely on that village for support. Another area to look toward for assistance is technology. Various communication and collaboration tools are helping working parents maintain momentum in their career and find more time to appreciate the benefits of parenthood. Let’s take a closer look at how video conferencing is making a positive impact on parent’s work/life balance.
Video Conferencing is a Time Saver
Not so long ago, the only viable way to successfully interact and build relationships with distant clients was by phone or via travel. Audio conference calling remains a viable meeting solution, however, there are certain times when there’s just no substitute for a face-to-face connection. Working parents may find themselves faced with a conflict between agreeing to out-of-town travel at the expense of precious family time or turning down work travel, which could negatively impact their career aspirations. To alleviate this situation companies are incorporating video conferencing solutions as a best practice for both internal and external communication. Scheduling a video conference provides many of the advantages of in-person meetings at a fraction of the time and cost, especially when arranging travel for multiple participants from various locations. Video conferencing can also reduce or eliminate the need to rent out meeting space when gatherings are too large to be accommodated in-house. Today, working parents can stay close to home without forsaking building relationships with their clients.
Staying Connected to Both Family and Work
Work Without Missing What’s Happening at Home
Some business travel is par for the professional course, especially in our global economy. Meetings, conferences, training, and conventions all require being out of the office and away from home. Regardless of how long the trip is, it’s tough for working parents to be away from home — especially when children are small. When out of town travel is mandatory, connecting via video allows working parents to stay in touch with their families. Whether a parent is helping with a child’s math homework or listening to piano practice, a video connection is the second best thing to being in the room. And don’t forget to show your kids where you are via video so they feel connected to you no matter the distance.
Tend to Sick Children Without Missing Work
Few circumstances are more distressing to a parent than having a sick child. Even when it’s “only a cold,” parents understandably want to be home to tend to a child who is ill. When mandatory work commitments coincide with the desire to be at home, video conferencing is the ideal solution. Parents can be there for their children while taking care of business as usual. In the unfortunate event that a parent must nurture a seriously ill child, absences of weeks or even months may be required while parents focus on doctor’s visits and hospital stays. Even the most conscientious employees put work on the back burner during these difficult times.
Loss of a valuable employee can be disruptive to the office environment. Companies could hire temporary or contingent workers to cover the absence, though, significant effort is needed to onboard and manage someone unfamiliar with the business. Video conferencing significantly reduces the disruption caused by a longer-term absence of a key player. Parents can perform work-related tasks remotely and consult via online meetings so that colleagues don’t have to shoulder too much extra work.
Manage a Business Crisis
Even in the most efficient and well-oiled offices, the unexpected happens – and the unexpected can happen at inopportune times.
Urgent circumstances are bound to occur when key figures are away from the office, home for the evening, over the weekend or on vacation. A hurried trip back to the office late at night or, in extreme situations, from a long-planned vacation can be extremely disappointing for parents and children alike. Having a video conference solution or international conference call option in place as an alternative to emergency travel allows for immediate attention and quicker resolution to the issue.
While a video conference solution won’t address every in-office emergency, the need for a physical presence is vastly reduced. Situations can be resolved with a minimum of disruption to a parent’s attendance at a soccer game or a science project presentation. And parents enjoying a long-anticipated family vacation can restore order in the office and rejoin their family fun with a minimum of disruption.
Virtual Networking Through Video Conferencing
“Face time” time is a must do for ambitious individuals wishing to get ahead. It signals to the higher-ups a dedication to the business and the effort put into building trusted client relationships. The premise is sound. People prefer to do business with people they know.
The most valuable means of getting to know others is through face-to-face encounters. In professional environments, this means networking. In-person networking gatherings often form the foundation for long-standing working relationships. However, working parents may not have time to attend in-person networking events that take place after the daily grind or at out-of-town conventions or conferences. They would prefer to spend the free time they do have with their children or on date nights with their spouses or friends.
Even if inclined to attend networking events, working parents must make arrangements for childcare, which often precludes both parents from attending networking events scheduled at the same time, either separately or together. A video conference solution allows busy parents to attend virtual networking events without having to juggle or compromise family and career responsibilities. Get to know your peers, attend virtual seminars and webinars with video breakout groups, and don’t forget to just turn on the video option during a call with someone new.
Training Via Video Conference
In many professions, additional training and continuing education are required to maintain certification or advance to the next level. However, busy parents often have enough of a challenge coordinating their family obligations with their day jobs, without adding the challenges of a fixed classroom schedule. As a result, capable individuals can find themselves with less opportunity for advancement.
Video conferencing and distance learning provide a solution that allows parents to learn new skills and enhance their credentials on their own schedules. Online learning platforms such as Udemy or Kahn Academy eliminate the need to fight traffic or worry about who will watch the kids. At the same time, video conferencing allows adult learners to enjoy high levels of interaction with their instructors as well as with other students through webinars, interactive sessions, screen sharing, and other innovations. Skills and training needed to qualify for a promotion are gained while maintaining a close connection with children and loved ones.
Your Work/Life Balance Achieved
Being a parent is one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs an individual can undertake. Nearly all parents draw tremendous gratification from nurturing their children and providing for their family. But, parents are people too! And those people have needs – including the need for both individual and professional fulfillment. Tending to parental obligations shouldn’t preclude anyone from reaching their goals. With rapidly emerging and evolving communication innovations such as video conferencing, caring parents can maintain and nurture family bonds while achieving professional advancement and career satisfaction.