Welcome to our first 'Balance Beam' work life balance profile for 2013! This post is brought to you by Eugenie Pepper from PLUM.
Our Balance Beam profiles are published on a semi-regular basis, placing focus on organisations from Australia, New Zealand and around the globe who are implementing a variety of work life balance initiatives into their organisation. Our aim is to inspire you to seek greater work life balance inside and outside your business.
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Name: Eugenie Pepper
Title: Marketing & Communications Manager
Years in business: 48*
Number of staff including business owner: 7
* The business has been around for 3 generations. The business was established in 1965 by Bob and Nell Pepper, and run for many years by Rob Pepper, and is today owned and managed by Bob’s grandson Shane Pepper and his wife Eugenie, who with their 2 young children, Tommy and Chloe, fully understand the needs of today's parents.
1. What are some of the work life balance issues your organisation faces?
We are a small business and at times we can get very busy and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Many of our staff including Shane and myself have young children so we realise it is important for us to be flexible to enable our staff the have a good work life balance particularly those with children.
2. What work life balance initiatives do you have in your organisation, big or small?
We understand the requirements of working parents. Our designers being mums do not work full-time and have the flexibly they need it. We finish at 2.30pm on a Friday. We also start early in the morning so we do not work late. We are always home in time for kid’s dinner and bath time. I work from home, which makes life even easier. Once a month on a Thursday we will leave work at 4.30pm for a staff get together at our local pub. This meeting time means we get to catch up with the team and discuss how things are going and chat about any news and updates in a casual environment. We have a fun time and it builds team morale and relationships.
3. What have been the main benefits to your organisation of these initiatives?
We believe in the importance in having a harmonious balance between work and personal life. Plum has a warm, caring atmosphere. Our office is a fun place to be. Having happy work environment contributes to everyone working better, which in turn helps business do better.
4. Have there been any obstacles or issues in implementing your work life balance initiatives?
The challenges of work life balance are being a working parent with young children. Young children are often unwell and unable to attend school or kindy. It makes it difficult if to get work done if you have a sick child. My son had been home from kindy off and on for the last 3 weeks. I have been working from home but also taking him into the office when I have had to do a few things important things that could not be done from home. It becomes hard to squeeze everything in the day.
5. Do you conduct any regular surveying or evaluation of your work life initiatives?
Being a small business we can take a holistic approach to the way the business is run. We have a small team and we are very approachable for staff to freely discuss their needs anytime. We are always open to their suggestions.
6. What are some of your own personal work life balance and/or time management tips?
I have a great balance although sometimes it is tough squeezing everything I have to do. It is really important to work efficiently to work smarter because being a parent your time is very precious so every minute spent working and away from you family has to count.
Being in control your work-life balance can make a huge difference to morale and quality of life. I have 3 dedicated days for working when my 4 year old and 2 year old are at kindy. I work odd hours when I can if I need too for example, if I wake up at middle of the night and cannot sleep I will do some work. I work from home so this also helps with flexibility as I can put on a load of washing in between what I am doing for work. On the days I have the kids at home I try to focus on my kids. I do find it hard not to respond to emails and phone calls and sometimes it is important and cannot wait.
7. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the beach, swimming, going to parks and bbq’s with friends and get togethers all the kid’s cousins.
8. Tell us about your organisation. What are the key services of your organisation and what is your target market?
PLUM has a long history creating quality kids clothes. Plum is one of Australian's most loved and trusted children's and baby brand – we offer an extensive range of high quality Australian designed children & baby fashion, swimwear, baby sleep bags and baby accessories. As well as baby and children's fashion and baby sleep bags we are also very excited to be launching our new PLUM SWIM WEAR collection. Plum exports products all over the world including the UK, New Zealand, Middle East, Asia USA and UK.
We have always wanted to do some thing to give back to the community and the way we are doing this is through out partnership with SIDS and Kids. SIDS and Kids is dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood and supporting bereaved families. They do this through research, evidence based education and bereavement support. Plum supports the national Safe Sleeping Education campaign through the funding of selected safe sleeping education materials. SIDS and Kids together with Plum also launched the Safe Sleeping free iPhone application and most recently a DVD that goes to all pediatric offices & hospitals nationally.
9. What is your role within the organisation?
My role is marketing and promotions. I also work on getting publicity for the business and running our events and photo shoots. I am also manage our Facebook page, twitter and pinterest. I also responsible for the merchandising of our stock in the major stores such as David Jones, Toys R Us and Baby Bunting.
Abbie's Comments: "Sick children can be a very challenging aspect of work life balance. Working from home makes this juggle a lot easier, but I do wonder how it impacts those who don't currently have that option?"