24/10/2006 - 22:00

No hard-and-fast rule for achieving balance

24/10/2006 - 22:00

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Finding a balance between work and life outside of business appears to be some way off for the entrepreneurial panellists at the WA Business News Success and Leadership event.

No hard-and-fast rule for achieving balance

Finding a balance between work and life outside of business appears to be some way off for the entrepreneurial panellists at the WA Business News Success and Leadership event.

While all agreed it was important to try and take the opportunity to have time out, the ability to find that time away from their respective businesses was another issue.

However, for all the panellists, the arrival of children into their lives has had an impact in one way or another on how they spend their time out of the office.

Gooding Pervan partner Suzan Pervan said owning her own practice meant that she could never stop thinking about it outside of work hours.

“I don’t think you can truly get balance, “ she said.

“But I think you need to make a conscious decision at some stage to weigh up the number of hours you spend in the office and out of the office, and that was an easy decision for me once I had a child.”

Ms Pervan said it was important to promote balance in the office in order to maintain a more productive workforce.

“It keeps the mind healthy, it keeps the office happy, so if you have got a nice environment in the office you are working reasonable hours and everybody should be happy,” she said.

However, the work-life balance was an overrated, over-focused concept for iiNet’s Michael Malone.

“I love what I am doing,” he said. “I could not imagine doing anything else.

“I don’t see why there is a focus on having to be out of the office at 5.15pm on the dot if I am enjoying what I am doing.

“The flip side is if I take a holiday in Perth…that just doesn’t work for me, so I have to go away somewhere where I can’t get access to an email terminal.”

The same view was raised by Argonaut’s Eddie Rigg, who works long hours and also runs his family’s farming operation in Coorow, north of Perth.

“I don’t turn off…I just love the work,” he said. “On the counter-side of that, I don’t want to be working [in this job] when I’m 50…I’ll stand back and maybe consult at Argonaut.”

Mr Rigg said he set time on the weekend for sport with his children.

“I coach footy and cricket all during the year… so I do try and take time out, but my wife assures me that I have got no balance,” he said.

Trailcraft’s Brett Martin said he had refocused his work-life balance following the recent birth of his first child.

“I’ve certainly been guilty of doing work until nine o’clock or 10 o’clock at night…but I also love what I do…I’m in a terrific industry,” he said.

“To give an example; I have got some potential North American distributors here, and following this breakfast I am going boat testing for the rest of the day; so that’s not a bad way to spend a Wednesday.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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