Last year when I took over as CEO at Festival of Media my mission was to create a ‘want to come to work’ culture at a company that had seen a flurry of resignations in the previous 12 months and was a challenging place of work.
This involved having a greater understanding of what motivates each employee and what makes them happy about coming to work, creating a number of activities and implementing initiatives from lieu days to birthday days – most importantly treating them all like adults – allowing working from home and flexible working hours. None of it is particularly groundbreaking, but it has helped transform the mentality, mindset and culture within the company.
As a CEO that leads from the front I decided to take advantage of the flexible working hours and working from home when I became a dad for the third time five weeks ago today.
With my first two daughters I didn’t really have much choice, but to stick rigidly to the two weeks of paternity leave, which was great and much appreciated, but equally it felt like just as I had started bonding with my baby I was heading back to work with a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I would now miss out on everything from their first words to their first steps. For those first few weeks back in the daily grind all I could think about was how I was missing out, and frustrated I couldn’t help my wife settle into some form of routine with one baby and then two.
Determined not to let this happen after completing the hat trick of girls I decided to utilise my paternity leave, owed lieu days, holiday and flexible working to ensure I was more of presence for the first four weeks of my third baby’s life.
Admittedly six days after Shelby was born I was in Rome chairing our Festival of Media Global event, but after that I decided to take two and a half weeks of paternity to help
my family of four adjust to being one of five.
During this time I was doing the school runs for my two older daughters and then coming back and having a few work calls and emails before deciding to go into the office once a week to ensure I was still keeping up to date with what was going on, while making sure I was helping out Mrs King and spending quality time with the girls.
I am not going to lie this week – the first one back in the office every day – has been tough mentally, more from a personal perspective than a professional one. There have been moments of guilt at not seeing your elder children before they go to bed every day, or spending time with the new born to see her development during the day, or helping your wife out as she becomes accustomed to three kids on her own during the working week.
However, the way I did paternity leave and the fact that I make an effort to do at least one school drop off a week, I find sets the mind up nicely for a productive day/week at work. It also contributes to a happier family life and makes up for the sleep depravation.
Anyway the purpose of this week’s blog is to provide an example of what the new working world should look like, and to provide a little insight into the mindset of what the new dad in 2018 is going through.