Watch our Parent's Network webinar on working parents and transition periods for their children

Seminar / 23 April 2024

Around 40 people from Real Estate Balance members joined us for this lunchtime webinar hosted by our Parents' Network to explore the various transitional periods in childhood from starting nursery to joining secondary school and the common challenges working parents may encounter during these periods.

The session was hosted by Claire Outram - Parents' Network member and Vice President, Asset Management, UK Office Division, Brookfield Properties.

The speakers included:

Zoe Varian - Director, Operations, Brookfield Properties

Zoe is a Chartered Surveyor in property management with more than 20 years experience. She has two daughters aged 15 and 18-years-old and has juggled motherhood and her career alongside her husband who is a London Firefighter working day and night shifts. 

Emily Colville - Senior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

Emily is a real estate lawyer based in London specialising in real estate finance, investment and projects work. She has three children in various childcare settings – primary school, nursery and at home – and, with the support of her husband, is constantly trying to adapt to their changing requirements as well as maintaining her career.

Tom Kelk - Engineering Product Owner, Lloyds Banking Group

Tom works in the Chief Technology Office at Lloyds Banking Group, leading teams tasked with helping developers be more efficient and aligned with Group strategies. With two boys under four, like many others, Tom feels the pressure of balancing career ambition and equal parenting whilst also finding time to squeeze in hobbies and see his wife.

Watch the webinar by clicking play above.

The session started off with the speakers discussing how they balance professional and family life and some of the advice and guidance they would offer working parents in similar positions.

They also explored issues including:

  • The challenges of maintaining a professional life while also dealing with the tiredness and even common illnesses that can come with raising children, especially when they are very young and still at nursery.
  • How scheduling and routines can become slightly more manageable when children are of primary school age and especially so when all of the children in a family are at the same stage of education.
  • While confidence in parenting and managing professional life can improve as children get older, this can also be met with growing needs from children as they progress through secondary school.
  • The importance of establishing boundaries as working parents, and how reducing hours, even if it is from as little as half a day a week, can provide the space to spend quality time with children. One speaker also suggested working parents taking half a day per month as annual leave to make time for their hobbies.   
  • The rise in agile working solutions post-Covid have helped working parents structure their days in a way whereby they can work productively while also being at home for childcare at key times.
  • Employers often provide benefits for parents, such as shared parental leave, unpaid caring days and extending sickness leave to the children of working parents, but do not always communicate their availability effectively.
  • One speaker advocated for return to work mentors, who are informed on the policies and processes in place to support returning parents and can help them find solutions to challenges they are not expecting to face.

The Q&A section of the session included discussion on the importance of asking for help and understanding even though it can be daunting, finding allies at work, childcare costs and more.

All of us at Real Estate Balance are thankful to the Parents' Network, Zoe, Tom, Emily and to everyone who attended this session and contributed to such a valuable and interesting conversation. 

Please click on the section below to find out more about the Parents' Network and you can also join their LinkedIn group by clicking here.