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My employer has said it will consider temporary ways of making my life easier - any ideas which have worked for you?

(9 Posts)
iwouldgoouttonight Wed 07-Oct-09 09:49:22

I work four days a week and have DS (3) and DD (8 months). I used to work at home one of these days but I now have to be in the office all the time to cover staff absences. Since returning to work after having DD I have really struggled, I feel constantly exhausted and it takes me twice as long to do things at work because I can't get my poor tired head around them!

It kind of came to a head yesterday and I burst into tears in front of my line manager and told him I was struggling to cope, especially since losing my day working at home. I feel as though its a constant rush from getting up at ridiculous o'clock, getting the DCs ready, getting myself ready, getting myself to work, etc. And I really miss the DCs!! When I worked from home DP looked after them that day so I could still see them if I wanted a break from work.

Anyway my manager has asked me to come up with some ideas of ways we can temporary adjust things at work to try to make things a bit more managable. He suggested for example, reducing my hour to 2.5 days and making it a job share. Unfortunately I don't think we can afford for me to do that. He said maybe things like working an hour less each day, or only five hours one day, but I'm not sure how much difference this will make??

Has anyone else adapted their work to make the work/life balance a little easier and how did it work?

TheOldestCat Wed 07-Oct-09 09:54:48

Oh you poor thing.

I've no experience to offer (I work from home three out of five days a week and that's what gets me through). But I hope someone will come along with more practical solutions as your manager won't let you work from home any more.

Bramshott Wed 07-Oct-09 10:01:45

Are you tired because the DCs don't sleep well, or are you tired because of getting up so early and commuting into work? If it's the latter, would it make a difference to start an hour later, and then do an hour in the evening from home?

Is the loss of your day working from home going to be permanent? That's quite a big change!

Sorry, not much help I know (I work from home blush), but hopefully someone will be along soon with more practical suggestions. Great that your line manager is supportive and wants to make it work - 8 months is still very early days with DD.

BonsoirAnna Wed 07-Oct-09 10:04:15

Is it your home workload or your work workload that really needs adjusting downwards?

I have been having a conversation about a similar subject recently, and the conclusion was that it was the home workload that was out of control and that the answer was to buy more, better help at home.

wingandprayer Wed 07-Oct-09 10:09:33

Which parts of you day cause you the most stress? I'm thinking since you mentioned it it's getting to nursery/CM then work? How long does the journey take? What is the rest of your morning routine? Can you DP drop them off on his way to work at least a couple of days a week? Could you move your start time forward half an hour to give you some space and reduce your lunch hour so you are actually doing the same hours? I'm thinking 5 shorter days would be pointless as it would increase childcare costs without altering income. Or could you DP cover that fifth day then you could join them afterwards and do something nice as a family? I know this is not ideal because it means seeing less of the kids, but if you are less tired and stressed when you do see then and not haring round every moning you will have more quality time as a result.

What time to kids go to bed? What time do you go to bed? Have you seen your GP to check for anaemia etc which would be making tiredness worse? Small thing but do you get your shopping delivered so you don't have to do that in your precious time off? Could you afford a cleaner? Are there any family or friends close by that could help out for a few weeks while you get your head back together?

iwouldgoouttonight Wed 07-Oct-09 10:53:53

Thanks - the loss of the home working day is technically only temporary until an empty post is filled, but there is a recruitment freeze and nobody has any idea whether we'll be allowed to recruit to the post, and even if we can how long that will take. My manager said it would be six months away at the earliest. If I knew there was a definite date when I could go back to homeworking one day I think I might feel better about it.

Bramshott - DD tends to either wake in the night about 4am and then go back to sleep after about an hour, or wake at 5.30am and is awake for the day! So its a bit of both. I think coming in an hour later might make a difference - would give me a bit of breathing space in the morning.

Good point BonsoirAnna - if I'm honest it might be the home workload that is hardest to deal with. My work workload isn't stressful, its more the time I have to be out of the home thats the problem. We have already adjusted things at home to help, we have a cleaner, do shopping online, get things ready the night before. We don't really have any extra money to get any extra help, I might need to find ways of managing my time better. I know I have trouble with prioritising things.

Wingandprayer - My manager did suggest 5 shorter days but like you say it would mean an increase in childcare costs and my DP has to work that day. He works for himeself so works most of the time! (apart from the day he looks after the DCs). We try to get the DCs into bed by 7-7.30pm and I normally go to bed about 9-10pm. I am anaemic - I'm on iron tablets, and I have been getting lots of colds, etc recently so think I am run down.

My mum looks after the DCs one a day a week and she offers to have DS sometimes at weekends which helps - she is finding it tiring though, especially to look after them both - she looked shattered when I picked them up from her house yesterday - she didn't edmit it, but I don't want to put more pressure on her to look after them as I don't want to make her ill!

Was wondering about just taking some annual leave to give myself a rest! Think going in later would definitely be a help too. Really good to get some ideas - I was just stuck in my head thinking there is no way out!

gallery Wed 07-Oct-09 15:19:36

My work is helpful with flexibility of hours, it makes a huge difference to say to yourself, it does not matter if I am later in today. It really reduces that panic I am going to be later shout at everyone to hurry up run around like a mad thing. The hour later start would really help you. Also, you could use some of that time to do a slow cooker meal or over timer casserole to take some evening supper pressure off. I find it is the home plus work that creeps up on me (am knackered at the moment and feeling it all closing in) so go back to basics, make job lists and knock things off one at a time. One of my current stress factors is evening meals so am trying to work through that one by being even more prepared. Really feel for you. The thing about taking annual leave is- will you really rest or will you spend the days running around doing lots of things at home.

notwavingjustironing Wed 07-Oct-09 15:24:27

could you not take some of your annual leave as you suggested, but break it down, ie one day's leave broken down into either eight or four shorter working days - that extra hour or two might just make the difference.

That way, you can work less hours, but not get paid less for it.

spookyrookie Wed 07-Oct-09 20:53:12

I do slightly reduced hours 9.30 - 4.30 and it makes a big difference. I take half an hour for my lunch so only lose half an hours salary per day.

To be honest I'm usually in for shortly after 9 anyway but at least its not such a dreadful rush in the morning, and I'm pretty good at leaving on time so I miss the rush hour and get to see DS before he is getting too grizzly.

The great thing is that your manager is prepared to consider different options, maybe take a few days annual leave to get you back to fighting strength and then pick some sort of short term hours reduction to trial and see how it goes.

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