PM on juggling career with work-life balance

John Hilton
by |

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been interviewed by the BBC about the difficulties of balancing her political career with being the mother of a young child.

Ardern opened up about feeling guilty for focusing too much on work at the expense of family life.

"The guilt of whether or not I'm a good enough daughter, sister, partner, mother… show me a woman who doesn't."

Ardern added that she is "a mother, not a superwoman" and that the perception that the latter is true "does a disservice to all women, it raises expectations that no one can meet".

Indeed, many organisations in New Zealand are currently working through the challenges of providing staff (particularly parents) with a better work/life balance.

After trialling a four-day working week for its 250 staff, New Zealand trust company Perpetual Guardian announced last year that they will be adopting the model permanently.

Based on a trial involving feedback from more than 200 employees, Perpetual Guardian found that work/life balance improved significantly from 54% in 2017 to 78% in the post-trial survey. Moreover, staff stress levels dropped from 45% pre-trial to 38% post-trial.

The results also found productivity had increased by 20%, and employees were more engaged and enthusiastic.

When the trial was first announced it was welcomed enthusiastically by employees, with Andrew Barnes, Perpetual Guardian founder and CEO, saying he’d been moved to tears by some of the responses.

"We have a couple of single mothers in the company and they're saying this will change their world," he said.


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