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How To Balance Family and Work

Updated on July 21, 2018

Family and Work

Family and work discussion is always a delicate one, how to marry the two together is another issue entirely. What I’m trying to say here is that if you are a family man who works, where do you place your family in the process of working and how do you relate or correlate them; if you are a family man who works how do you again put the job in the process of trying to integrate the family into it all. These are the questions we should try to ponder over; so many people are very busy that they forget that they have a life outside their work. I believe that if we have a better people, we have better family, we have better businesses and then we would have a better society.

Whenever a man leaves his house and go to work, there are certain problems he would want to solve how does he take care of the family, in terms of putting food on the table, provide accommodation, send children to school and other basic necessities of life, these are what drives a man to go to work every day. But interestingly the question is how many hours should he spend working and how many hours does he have for his family and that is where the battle is, the more hours you spend at work the less hours you have to spend with your family.

Standard Working Hours

Usual working hour is refers to the legislation to limit the working hours per day, per week, per month, per year. In general, standard working hours of countries globally are around 40 – 48 hours a week, though not in every countries, France working hours has reduced to 35 working hour per week, France approved this working hour in the year 2000, in North Korea their working hours per week is about 112 hours, however there is additional overtime payment for the workers which is around 25% – 50% above the normal hourly payments. In China, they adopted 40 working hours per week in 1995. However, Netherlands was the first county in the industrialized world where the overall normal working hour per week plummeted to less than 30 hours in 2000s. Working hours have declined considerably over the years, in the early 19th Century, U.S working hours a week was estimated to be over 60 hours a week but today it is around 33 hours a week and that means that average man employed full-time will work 8.4 hours per work day and the average woman employed full-time will be working for 7.7 hours per work day which I think is a welcome development, and I hope other developing countries should emulate.

In 2011, there was a report of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, that Germany had the lowest average working hours per week at 25.6 hours. The New Economics Foundation has recommended moving to a 21 hour standard work per week to address problems with unemployment, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, overworking, family care and the general lack of free time. Actually, the factors that lead to decline in working hour are but are not limited to Technological advances in efficiency such as mechanization robotics and information technology, which is a welcome development and it is also good for family survival.

Balancing Work and Family Life


Avoid Traffic By All Means

Those in the urban areas are beginning to have excuses to get home late as a result of hold up on the road, some would decide to relax and wait till late hour in order to beat the traffic thereby getting home very late.

If you look at Europe and America the average working hour is between 37 to 48 hours per week but in Nigeria the working hour is more than 80 hours yet the productivity of those countries is higher than that of Nigeria, so is not how long you spend in your work but how well you do it is what matters. In those days Shell resumption time was 7 am and close 4 pm some people were asking why? And they said if you leave your house early you would beat the traffic since most offices resume at 8a.m so they chose to resume work early so that their staff would get to work on time and close by 4 clock to enable them also to beat the traffic going back home. They chose that flexible working hour in order to take care of people staying long on the road battling with traffic so if companies are genuinely interested in the quality of the family life of their staff, they have to start thinking of how to navigate and adjust their working hours.

Balancing work and Family Life


Balancing Work and Family Life

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Flexible working hour

There is this stereotype painting everybody believes that its 8 clock in the morning to 5 in the evening clock not 8 to 4. Technology has made things very easy that you can operate from anywhere and remain productive. You see so many factories have shift but they must be physically present during their shift as a result of the nature of their work. Looking at the time of those shifts, they can also maximize the working time without spending much time on the traffic and at the same time give the staff time to spend with their families.

Now we have these urban and rural immigration, young people are immigrating to the urban areas to find green pastures and that is why we have large population in the urban areas which contributed much in the traffic situation we are having presently.

There was a time that they have to repair the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos Nigeria. This particular bridge is the longest and it is linked to several major roads in Lagos. Some companies did not see any reason to adjust or to be flexible in their working time, so they obligated their staff to be at work at the normal resumption time. But on the contrary some companies decided to experiment by aligning their staff to work from home to lessen their suffering, depending on the nature of their work and they found out that it did not affect their productivity in any way, since they are not being stressed out in the traffic before getting to work so they are more productive working from home. You know the longer you stay at work and on the traffic, the less time you would have to rest, sleep, and the less time you would have for your family. Remember the body is like a machine if you don’t give it more time to relax, it might break down.

Balancing work and Family Life


Annual Leave and Maternity Leave

It is necessary to give staffs leave at least two to four weeks annually. Women also have maternity leave, which they take during their late pregnancy till the time they give birth. It would be a good idea to also have paternity leave. Maternity leave takes longer time between two to three months to enable the mothers wean their babies however it’s a bit difficult leaving a three months old baby behind to go to work. I think companies should be more flexible and considerate of their female workers and increase their maternity leave to at least 6 months. Though some have argued that it would affect the working standard or life of women as a result of spending much time off work, but I don’t think so, if she is acquainted with the system, it would not change her working standard in anyway. They can decide to pay them for the first three months and the remaining three months would be without payment, it is for the good of the baby and the mother. Leaving a three months old baby at home would be a much distraction for the mother because she would be worried from time to time about her baby, it would be for the everybody’s good if she is more return to work when she is more relaxed because the first six months of the baby is very vital for the health and well being of the baby.

Striking a Balance:Work,Family,Life

Paternity Leave

This is a topic that people seems to be less interested in discussing but I think is okay because the new baby also needs his or her father around. The issue of taking care of a newly born baby should not be left for the women alone I think involving men in it would be good be a great idea and it would also give the man time to take care of her wife as she remains frail within few days after given birth, it would be a great support for the woman and the newly born baby. We all know how important it is for parents to spend quality time with their children and the values it would place on those children. The issue of raising children should a combine effort of the two partners involved in the marriage. I think for this to work and be effective, governments should enact or have family friendly policies in place and thereafter encourage other private companies to participate and as well introduce it into their company’s policies.

Balancing Work and Family Life

Being Available During Your Child Development Stages

The priorities we place on family value depend on the outcome of the result we would get at the end of the day. It is always memorable to be there when your child starts crawling, speaks his or her first word, takes his or her first step, these are very important moment in a child’s life.

There are also a time when they would be experimenting in various things and object which might seem strange to them but they would want to see how it works. There is another stage they would want to make some delicate decisions in their lives, they need someone they can lean on, someone they can trust to give them the right direction and parents are the ones that are supposed to be there for them.

There are two different people children value so much in their lives while growing up; number one is their parents when it comes to any issue in their lives, they believe whatsoever their parents tells them it’s true. They trust them a lot, that is why, when his or her parents is somewhere at work, they end up making some silly mistakes, confused or even depressed as a result.

The second person is their teacher at school, when it comes to any issue on education, they would argue with you even as their parents, my teacher said its like this not that way and that is also the reason you should be careful in which hands you leave your children with in terms of education, they believe that their teacher knows it all and whatsoever he or she teaches them, they assimilate very quickly and that is what would believe, trying to argue with them about it mostly its useless, because it would be difficult to convince them otherwise.

Family friendly policies

There is a need for some industry especially banking industry should have what is called ‘family friendly policies’ that would allow their staff to quality time with various families. Family is the soul of the society that is because what affect the family affects the society. One of our client who works in the bank ones complained to me that he barely sees his children awake, he goes to work as early as 4.30am when his children are still sleep and come back as late as 10 pm when his children also have retired to bed. During the weekend, he has little or no time for his family because he has to report to work as well. He doesn’t know what his children is feeling, what is happening in their schools, how they do their homework etc. he felt bad about it however; according to him, there is nothing he can do about it, as he has to put food on the table and as well pay the bills. This is really terrible for the society, since whatsoever the families produce, that is what the society would have deal with, whether an aggressive, depressed, etc.


Submit a Comment

  • Benny01 profile imageAUTHOR

    Ijeoma Peter 

    3 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

    Frank thank you very much for your feedback and I am glad that you find it helpful. Actually Its not easy balancing work and family, but if one is determined to do it, then it becomes easy. Family is very important aspect of our lives, which should not be ignored and at the same time we have to make ends meet!

    Also, Family and work are two important things that we cannot run away from, it is also crucial that we don't focus on one at the expense of the other. Thanks again.

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 

    3 years ago from Shelton

    seems like a difficult thing to do but this hub proved helpful in how to balance work and family.. thank you for the share voted up and useful :) Frank


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