A balancing act?
Realistically, work-life balance impacts any gender, throughout various stages of their careers, however research has shown that obtaining the balance can be difficult for parents particularly mothers, and even more so single mothers.
Figures highlighted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show 55 per cent of mothers with children younger than 12 are employees, while 11 per cent manage their own businesses.
Here we speak with Gail Gardiner, co-CEO of dancewear brand Energetiks and mother of three, who shares her journey and advice on how to find a balance.
Born in Scotland, Gail migrated to Australia in 1971 and grew up in Melbourne, Victoria.
After completing a commerce degree, Gail worked in the finance department at Caterpillar Australia. Following this, she launched Energetiks with her co-founders in 1988. And while she is a self-confessed lover of all things numbers and finance, when not working, Gail enjoys hiking, dancing, travelling and spending time with her family.
What is your job title and can you give a little insight into what a day in the life of Gail Gardiner looks like?
I’m the Co-CEO of dancewear brand, Energetiks. Each day starts with a meeting with my fellow co CEO’s. We do a run through of what’s going on each department, analyse results and strategically plan to ensure we are moving the company forward in achieving our vision and mission.
Following this, I meet with the managers of my departments and then create a task list for myself which varies depending on the demands of the business. Each day is different, but some of these tasks include visiting retail managers on site, analysing reports, cash flow/financials, supporting our HR and finance manager and final approval of staff hiring.
DEBUNK: We quite often hear ‘work-life balance’ being promoted or discussed, particularly to women to make them believe they can ‘have it all’. In your experience, is there really such a thing as ‘work-life balance’?
Work life balance can exist, provided you work smarter not harder.
When the business was in its infancy, I had three children under the age of two and also taught classical ballet! To say I was busy is an understatement. However, it forced me to be really organised and be clear on my priorities from the get go.
Striking a ‘balance’ is more to do with how you chose to navigate your life and the decisions you make, not so much about a balance of working hours or how often you work.
I have personally found that a good balance can be achieved, if you:
- Hire the right people who align with your core values.
- Delegate to build strong leaders. Don’t try to do it all yourself.
- Create goals with measurable results that can be easily assessed and altered if not workable.
- Stick to efficient meeting structures help to keep meetings short and focused.
- Communicate clearly and effectively with your business partners and teams.
- Be prepared and ask for help when life throws you a curve ball (because it will!).