TAMPA, Fla. – The question of where work life ends and home life begins took on new meaning when COVID-19 forced many women to work from home, while simultaneously caring for children whose schools and day care centers shut down.
But as women struggle to balance work and home, they may find there are more similarities between the two than they realized, Marsha Friedman, an entrepreneur, wife, mother of four and founder and president of News & Experts, a national PR firm, said.
“I’ve always felt that running a business and running a household have a lot in common,” Friedman said, who is also the ForbesBooks author of “Gaining the Publicity Edge: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing Your Brand Through National Media Coverage.” “It’s become even more apparent now that we are running our businesses from our households. In both situations you have budgeting, planning and one-on-one sessions to discuss challenges you are facing.”
Friedman said being willing to rethink roles is important for working couples raising families under the current situation where the home temporarily has become the office.
“Suddenly, women are managing both their work and their personal life in ways they did not have to before,” she said.
Friedman said one way for women to bring better balance to their lives is to apply some workplace strategies to the home, both during this crisis, and once it’s over.
Consider the division of labor.
In a business, people are assigned specific jobs and responsibilities based on the company’s needs. The same is true in the household, Friedman said. Jobs around the house need to be delegated, just as they are in a business. Prioritize what tasks must be done, she said, and decide who is most suited to take on each responsibility, whether it’s the mother, the father or the children.
Be thoughtful about the ways of delegating those jobs.
“In business, my philosophy is matching up the interests and skills of the person to the needs of the company,” Friedman said. “You can do the same with household chores.”
Consider whether one person is better skilled at a certain task or brings more passion to it.
Understand and appreciate each person’s role.
In business, you interact with other employees and attend team meetings, which gives you insight into the scope of other people’s jobs and an appreciation for what they do. That can happen at home as well.
“Even these days, in many families the spouse at work in an office doesn’t always see everything that’s involved in running a household,” Friedman said. “This stay-at-home period has allowed them to see what happens at home when they are away. This can add a lot to the quality of the relationship.”
Eventually, most women who suddenly became remote workers will ease back into some form of their old life, where once again there’s physical separation between work and home. When that happens, don’t forfeit the progress you made improving that work life and home life balance, Friedman said.
“If you made this work during the pandemic, you don’t want to lose the ground you gained,” she said.
Friedman is a sought-after adviser on PR issues and strategies, who shares her knowledge both as a popular speaker around the country and in her Amazon bestselling book, “Celebritize Yourself.” For more information, visit http://www.newsandexperts.com.