We have been running a PR & Media firm from the heart of the UK for the past 6 years. We have grown from a team of one (just me in the very early days of getting up at 4.30 am and working for my one client before heading off to my day job at ITV), to two…when my husband brought his expertise on board and now, we have grown to a team of 7 with plans to expand further this year.
While the business has expanded, so has our family. As if running a business wasn’t enough, we added three children to the mix which certainly keeps us on our toes but it has also done something else that has become vital to the way we treat our staff and the way we run our business.
You’ll have to ask our team how they feel about working with us but whenever we ask, they always say that they love it and it normally comes back to one thing – getting a work/life balance right. Actually, let me correct that last sentence – getting a life/work balance right…life and more importantly family, should ALWAYS come first.
We have two rules here at GD PR and Media:
1. Family first
2. Don’t take the piss (excuse my French) – and this works both ways.
The first is pretty easy to comprehend – when you have children, or parents, or siblings or let’s face it – any family…they will always come first and we will never attempt to compete with that.
One thing that really resonates with me is something that one of our team members once told us about a previous job. It was her child’s very first school sports day and even though she requested time off, it was refused and as a result, she missed it…a really important day in her child’s life and she was not allowed to attend. I think that was one of the reasons why she decided to change jobs and I think that lots of us would do the same.
Most people who go to work and have children will get the title of this blog… oh the guilt! You feel guilty for leaving your child and going to work but if you’re child is ever poorly and you need to take a day off to look after them, you feel guilty for not being at work… it’s a never ending circle of guilt!
As a company, we can’t take that guilt away but we feel extremely strongly that you should never, ever miss an important event in your families life… whether that’s a sports day, a special assembly, taking children to a first exam or just needing a day to be with them occasionally.
We aim to be as flexible as possible to accommodate all of these things… in fact, to back that up, we have also taken the step of scrapping holiday restrictions – that doesn’t mean we don’t have holidays… quite the contrary – we trust our staff and their dedication to our clients and know that they’ll get the job done and in return, they can take as much leave as they like… whether it’s a longer summer holiday, an afternoon off to get their hair done or a day to take a parent to a hospital appointment… we don’t ‘count’ holiday days and as a result, we believe that we have a much happier and more productive team of staff.
One of our team also found that she was struggling with the traffic everyday so she works from 8 am – 4 pm to miss the traffic, but also to get an extra hour with her children at the end of the day.
Another team member now works from home a couple of days a month as she was finding the lengthy commute stressful – all things that help to that life/work balance. But – how does it all work harmoniously? The answer is simple and takes me to my second point – don’t take the piss!
This one is pretty self-explanatory – if you’re going to be late, let us know. Don’t sit gossiping or scrolling through your phone if another team member is struggling with workload. Always go above and beyond for our clients – with no exceptions…if there are issues with an account, we sit down and thrash it out until we come up with a solution.
There is a way to have a successful life/work balance. I’m not saying we don’t face challenges or times when work can be stressful but we work as a team and we know our priorities and so far, our two little rules have worked.