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5 min read

Search Leeds: Women in Digital – How to Maintain a Work Life Balance

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Within the digital sector, and is particularly apparent during conferences that the search industry is male-dominated. To highlight the incredible skill-sets within this sector, Search Leeds 2019 has introduced a Women in Digital panel consisting of inspirational women and men within the industry covering three topics: Balance, Confidence and the Industry.

For the first discussion, we are joined by the great – Sarah Beaumont, Jill Quick, Catherine Shuttleworth & Arnout Hellemans.

Worklife balance in the digital industry

The panel was led by Sarah, to which she outlined the importance of finding a positive work-life balance that affects most of us in our careers at some point. Throughout this discussion, the panellists would cover the challenges, hinderances, as well as what we need to do as individuals and businesses to improve this balance.

What does balance mean to you?

Initially, each panellist began by sharing personal insights about themselves and challenges about work-life balance.

Jill discussed how she always tries to think of life as a triangle’s three points. These include yourself and the self-care associated with this, your family, which can be a partner and/or children and your work. Although the triangle has been coined “the strongest structure to man”, one point is almost always out of sync. Jill continued to state that the biggest issue of not achieving a balance is failing to admit that sometime’s you may not be okay. By talking to a loved one in this situation, or seeking external help, this can aid in relieving stress and make situations more manageable.

Arnout admitted that to help with his balance he shares his difficulties with his wife, helping to unload stress. He too agreed with Jill and believes that by sharing your concerns with a partner or friend to help find a solid solution. He also stresses that balance is also about having fun and fully enjoying your life.

Catherine takes this from a point of view of an employer. She explains how recently there has been a dramatic shift in what employees are demanding (and rightly so she stresses) about processes within the workplace. Catherine explains the benefits of flexible working for both the employer and employees – particularly for mothers with young children. She continued to enlighten the crowd by stating that we as individuals will continue to encounter different stages in life, some when we may feel trapped and responsibilities are huge, but stress to communicate clearly to your employers throughout these hard times for assistance.

Interestingly, Catherine stated how “success is a personal thing, and only you can make a decision on what that is”. This comment can help professional within the industry to focus on their personal goal and success within the industry and help to effectively plan to reach these.

What tools or learnings have helped you with balance at work?

Jill justifies that working on flexibility has helped with her personal work-life balance. From her experience, a massive chunk of talent is being wasted within the creative sector with a lack of flexible working, therefore hindering professionals whom may have gone for maternity leave and struggle to find a job to work around daycare and their schedule. Jill explains how a more humanist approach should be applied to work settings to allow for each of us to thrive.

Catherine mentions about people bragging about their lives within the workplace to give them a “perfection filter”, but in reality, no one’s life is a fairytale, but instead a series of incidents that we work through with others. To help with balance, we shouldn’t be afraid, particularly within a workplace environment to not be okay. Off the back of this, be sure to ask your co-workers how they’re really feeling and to help them if they would like it.

Top tips for a work-life balance

Arnout explains how the biggest part of gaining balance is making informed decisions and sticking with them. He discusses the need to talk about emotions with partners and not to assume that they are always okay because it’s truly okay not to be okay. If at first, the person does not want to discuss a topic, by simply asking them, this could allow them to open up and for them to know that you’re reading to listen when they need it, which is the biggest key.

Jill gives her top three tips that help both her and her clients that she consults with work-life balance, which is detailed below:

  • Being in touch with your community and to find your tribe. Jill highlighted the ADA list, that email community for women to help relieve oppression and change the technology industry as a whole.
  • Find out what other people and role models within the industry are doing. This can help to push both your mind and body to focus on your individual success, whilst touching base with likeminded individuals in the industry.
  • To have confidence in yourself and your professionalism. Kirsty Hulse carried out an excellent discussion on confidence within yourself helping to level the playing field for women in the digital industry. She also explains how you should work to have confidence in yourself to talk to someone within your team at work or your boss.

A final note that Sarah summaries the discussion on are regarding how we should all find our own reality and be aware of what is true to you. This will help define our values and drivers as a person to strive for work-life balance.