Tips for women running businesses, households in age of remote work
Last updated 6/24/2020 at 1:02pm
The question of where worklife ends and homelife begins took on new meaning when COVID-19 forced many women to work from home while simultaneously caring for children whose schools and daycare 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, says Marsha Friedman, an entrepreneur, wife, mother of four, and founder and president of News & Experts (www.newsandexperts.com), a national PR firm.
"I've always felt that running a business and running a household have a lot in common," says Friedman, 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 says 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 says.
Friedman says 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. She suggests:
Consider your 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 says. Jobs around the house need to be delegated, just as they are in a business. Prioritize what tasks must be done, she says, and decide who is most suited to take on each responsibility, whether it's the mom, the dad or the children.
Be thoughtful about the way you delegate those jobs. "In business, my philosophy is matching up the interests and skills of the person to the needs of the company," Friedman says. "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 says. "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 worklife-homelife balance, Friedman says.
"If you made this work during the pandemic," she says, "you don't want to lose the ground you gained."
About Marsha Friedman
Marsha Friedman, the ForbesBooks author of "Gaining the Publicity Edge: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Growing Your Brand Through National Media Coverage," is a businesswoman and public relations expert with nearly 30 years' experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations and professionals in the field of business, health and finance. Using the proprietary system she created as founder and President of News & Experts (www.newsandexperts.com), an award-winning national public relations agency, she secures thousands of top-tier media placements annually for her clients. The former senior vice president for marketing at the American Economic Council, Marsha is a sought-after advisor on PR issues and strategies, who shares her knowledge both as a popular speaker around the country and in her Amazon best-selling book, "Celebritize Yourself."