At Copperleaf®, prioritizing the wellbeing and productivity of our employees is paramount. Recognizing the pivotal role of a healthy work-life balance, our Women in Tech Committee organized a panel discussion in November. Moderated by Kirsten Harrold, our four panelists—Martina Carli, Connie Chiu, Xara Gobhai, and Dawen Nozdryn-Plotnicki—shared their personal experiences and reflections, shedding light on the pursuit of a balanced and harmonious life, both professionally and personally.
Understanding Work-Life Balance
The session commenced with a deep dive into what work-life balance truly means for our panelists. Martina sees work-life balance as the ability to focus on work during designated hours and to free her mind from work-related tasks outside of those hours. This practice, she believes, enhances her contributions at work and makes her a more pleasant person at home with family and friends. Connie underscored the effectiveness of work-life integration—the process of allowing space for both work and your personal life so that you can feel fulfilled in both aspects—while Xara emphasized the importance of pursuing personal interests beyond work.
Collaborative Efforts for Balance
Sometimes the indicators of imbalance can be subtle. Unless you’re actively aware, things such as stress, fatigue, lack of motivation, and neglecting personal passions might be ignored. To counter these issues, the panelists suggested some practical tools such as creating a dedicated workspace within your home, designating time for focused work, and being disciplined about setting expectations and boundaries when necessary.
The conversation also covered how your social circle—such as colleagues, friends, and family—can help with balance. Things like scheduling personal activities and expressing genuine interest in your team members’ activities outside work are helpful to encourage better balance.
We’re genuinely excited about everyone’s personal plans and take time to celebrate wins. Open communication, especially about our own definitions of wellbeing and success, brings us closer to a shared understanding of how complex and rewarding it is to work with each other.
Embracing Flexibility of Remote Work
During the discussion, the panelists explored the impact of remote work on work-life balance. Dawen, a working mom with a toddler, shared that remote work has brought newfound flexibility to her family, which has been extremely beneficial. She stressed the importance of having a support network and a system to manage work-related thoughts and reduce stress. Xara, another working mom, also appreciated the flexibility of remote work, despite acknowledging the potential challenges such as longer working hours. Ultimately, Xara felt that the benefits of being able to care for her children at home without the added stress of commuting outweighed any negatives.
Championing Work-Life Balance at Copperleaf
In the final segment, the panelists delved into how Copperleaf can further champion and support work-life balance. Suggestions included setting clear expectations for communication responsiveness, fostering transparent dialogue about individual situations, and staying aware of the effects on individuals as the company grows. Xara shared some practical tips, such as encouraging leaders to schedule personal activities in their calendars and creating a culture where teams feel comfortable doing the same. She also emphasized the importance of truly disconnecting from the office during vacation or illness.
The Women in Tech panel discussion provided valuable insights into effective work-life balance strategies and highlighted how they can help prevent burnout and foster overall wellbeing. We’d like to thank our panelists for sharing their experiences and insights, and to the audience for their active participation. Stay tuned for our next Women in Tech session.