1 August 2016
Having four kids, I know like any other parent how difficult it is to keep kids entertained over the summer holidays. Since breaking up for summer, three of my daughters have been coming in to the office quite a bit.
Entrepreneurs, like no other, tend to sacrifice personal time. It can feel like you have a responsibility to keep going for yourself and your family, as well as all the members of your team, which makes it hard to take some guilt-free time away from the office.
Being both a father and entrepreneur or CEO of a company can be difficult to balance, yet it isn’t something we talk about often. However, I think it’s crucial for business leaders to set a focus on striking a happy medium.
Children are only young once and I don’t want to have any regrets. For a long time, I probably focused too much on work. There were days, at the very start of our business, when my wife and I would only see each other at the change of shifts. Similarly, I didn’t go on a holiday for nine years, until my uncle urged me to take a break. Having a family changed all of that for me.
I now know how important it is to manage my working time well. When I am in the office, I want to make the most of every minute. Rather than seeing spending more time away from the office as a negative, I believe that my quest for finding a good work-life balance has only made me more productive. So why would I not want to make sure everyone I work with feels this way?
When trying to create a good balance in my whole team, I start by involving everyone’s families and getting to know them. We’re a family business through and through and many of the team I currently work with have grown up with UKFast over the past 17 years. We’re even seeing the second generation come through!
Summer is a great time to organise events for the whole family to get involved with. Last year, we hired out the whole of Chester Zoo and invited the whole team and their families for a special day out – with food and drink, goodie bags and special experiences. We also organise an annual festival – called UKFest – during which everyone can stay and camp, listen to live music, enjoy fairground rides, great food and a few drinks.
These events are essential for creating stronger teams and for helping the team to achieve the work-life balance that is so important to our happiness. Being supportive is one of our core values at UKFast and it’s something I think is behind our business’ success.
Personally, I believe it’s much easier to work in a team you know well. Being able to really enjoy working together is an invaluable asset. We spend so much of our lives at work, why shouldn’t that time be just as enjoyable as family time.