Establishing and maintaining boundaries to ensure that flexibility enhances, rather than hinders, career progression for women involves a combination of self-awareness, communication skills, and effective time management. Workplace flexibility has its pros and cons when it comes to career progression for women. However, if you have a clear vision of what is important to you and where you want to be in your career, you can successfully navigate the need for flexibility and limit the potential harm to your career.
Here are some strategies to consider when navigating flexibility and career progression for women:
Define your priorities:
Identify your career goals and personal priorities. Understand what matters most to you in both your professional and personal lives. Defining your priorities will help you establish healthy boundaries.
Set clear career goals:
Establish short-term and long-term career goals. Goals will provide a roadmap for your career progression, helping you make informed decisions about when, how long and what type of flexibility you need to satisfy your priorities.
Read our article on setting SMART goals for working women.
Communicate your boundaries clearly to colleagues, managers, and team members. Let them know your availability, preferred communication methods, and any limitations you may have. Over-communicate about your availability and presence in the office rather than leave people guessing about your whereabouts.
Discuss this with your employer if you need flexibility in your work schedule or arrangements. Be prepared to present a well-thought-out plan demonstrating how flexibility will benefit you and the organisation.
Read our article on how to ask your boss for flexible work hours.
Use technology wisely:
Leverage technology tools to enhance your efficiency and productivity. Tools like project management software, communication apps, and scheduling tools can help you manage your workload effectively and meet your work-life balance needs.
Establish work-life integration:
Find a healthy, integrated approach to work and family demands. Where possible, designate specific times for work tasks and personal activities to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Be realistic and kind to yourself when things do not work out as you plan. Chasing a perfect work-life balance is an allusion that not many can or will attain.
Identify and prioritise tasks based on their importance, impact on the business (or your career), and deadlines. Prioritising will help you focus on high-impact activities and avoid becoming overwhelmed by less critical tasks.
Learn to say "no", or "not yet"
Be comfortable saying no, or not yet, when it is necessary and wise to do so. Overcommitting can lead to burnout and hinder career progression for women. Communicate well with your team when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Delegate tasks when appropriate. Empower your team members and colleagues to take on responsibilities, allowing you to focus on tasks that align with your skills and career objectives.
Regularly evaluate and adjust:
Periodically assess your workload, commitments, and overall satisfaction. If adjustments are needed, be willing to make changes to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Seek support and feedback:
Communicate with mentors, colleagues, or friends to gain insights into how well you are managing your boundaries. Constructive feedback can help you refine your approach.
Invest in professional development:
Continuously invest in your skills and knowledge to remain competitive in your field. This proactive approach can enhance your career prospects and provide more flexibility in the long run.
Watch our CEO and Co-Founder, Phillipa Geard, as one of the panellists on the topic titled: Balancing acts: the double-edged sword of flexibility for career-driven moms, hosted by Sally Wade Coaching.
Remember, finding the right balance requires ongoing effort and adjustment. Flexibility should serve as a tool to enhance your career and family life, rather than an obstacle to progression. Regularly reassess and adapt your strategies to align with your evolving goals and circumstances.
At RecruitMyMom, we recognise that women have financial and career aspirations. We exist to help skilled mothers find jobs with employers that respect them and their desire to grow in their careers. Jobs may be full-time or part-time, in-the-office, hybrid or remote. We work with all types of flexibility requirements.