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Ruminations from open’s internal braintrust

Expertise is organic. It must be constantly nurtured if it is to grow and flourish. This is one of the fundamental pillars of OPEN’s internal culture.

Marvin Chaulk, Vice-President, Senior Consultant
OPEN Communications

openblog

the opinions and musings behind the expertise

Blog Author: Lynn Whiffen

Tales from the Crib

Lynn Whiffen

Posted: August 16, 2013

Managing work and life in an agency world

The perfect work/life balance. Who wouldn't want to have it all?

Balancing a job that you love with a family you treasure should be easy, right? Especially if you follow all the advice out there. Over the years I found that there is no shortage of working professionals who claim to have all the answers. Most commonly these are mega-salary alpha types who talk as if everyone has a support staff of five to handle everything from diapers to groceries. For the majority of us, it gets a little more complicated.

As both the Senior Accounts Manager and Managing Director of a new and quickly growing agency, there is no shortage of demands for my time. Agency life, even in the golden age of Mad Men, was never a 9 to 5 proposition. But I love it. The pace, the challenges, the people: it is an often-volatile mix that can be both maddening and exhilarating at the same time.

The same can be said about my home life. As the mother of two young children, both blessed with personalities that far outstrips their size, my spare time is an absolute checkerboard of everything from swim lessons to soccer, birthday parties to play dates, with plenty of food and laundry thrown in for good measure. My hubby, god bless him, does his level best to do his part, which often constitutes staying the heck out of my way – lol.

So how does it work?

It starts with a company that values your life as well as your work. OPEN Communications allows me the freedom of working from home when I feel the need to and for me, it is not only a lifesaver, but it also creates efficiencies in my work flow that I never dreamed possible. I thought that if I shared some of these pointers with you, they might help you, perhaps in some small way, to gain some measure of balance. Because any parent will tell you that this is often akin to juggling eggs during an earthquake.

You can deliver for clients wherever you are
In an age of smart phones, tablets, laptops and Bluetooth, technology actually can work in your favour.  Client relations is all about access and execution. A quick response can invariably stop a molehill from becoming a mountain.

You have a smart phone, so make it work for you
Email, text, chat, social, and the web. It's all there in the palm of your hand. Instant access means instant response. Take the time to ensure your core client information is accessible and you will be approving that production schedule as you change your child's diaper.

Create a great team to delegate work and POW! - The work gets done
Every great deliverable is a product of a great team. For a manager, building a great support team means no second-guessing, no confusion, just efficient, targeted results. It's a time intensive endeavour in the beginning that pays incredible dividends in the long run.

Agency life isn't for everyone. I have watched it bring out the very best in people, and draw out some less than polite characteristics in others. It is different for me at OPEN Communications. Our team feels like an extended family, where everyone is ready to step up and pitch in to get the job done. Is it the product of good management? Or is it a good working culture? I like to think that it's both. What I know for certain is that it helps make my work/life balance seem less like a juggling act and more a part of me, of who I am. And isn't that what it truly should be all about?