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A successful business owner on managing work-life balance

By Jack Campbell | |4 minute read
A successful business owner on managing work-life balance

With the workforce evolving over the years, our ability to manage the balance of work, social lives and chores has become increasingly difficult. As Lyndall Strazdins said to HR Leader, ‘Work hours were suitable 100 years ago, it’s different now.’

Michelle Novotny, the managing director of Discovering People, shared her experience in balancing her professional and private life with The HR Leader.

“I've certainly had to be very disciplined and focused at getting my work done at certain periods of time,” she said.


Ms Novotny commented on the challenges hybrid working has introduced, on top of balancing paid work and parenthood. “In this day and age, with working remotely, it's all meshed together. So, you've really got to set up those boundaries in terms of focusing on work and the time to focus on being a parent [and] providing that parenting support to the family.”

Flexible working has shifted the traditional workday. As Ms Novotny explained “It may mean that you take a couple of hours off during the middle of the day, then you pick that up later on when the kids are in bed or when you've got some quiet time.”

That being said, there may be instances where things take an unexpected turn. This happened to Ms Novotny as she fell pregnant during the global financial crisis (GFC).

“That was the first time that the business really experienced an unbelievable sort of downturn and I really learned a lot going through that process, but at the same time I happened to fall pregnant,” she said.

“But the recruitment business was a little baby of mine. So it wasn't that easy to basically give it up, but because of that downturn in the economy, I was able to downscale my workload and concentrate on the [human] babies.”

The demands on women’s time while often raising a family have only increased. In the 1960s, women only made up one third of the workforce in Australia, now they make up half.

Employers could do their part to support a better balance between paid work and home duties by amending workplace practices.

“Employers need to see that work-life balance is not just a nice thing to have. It’s a must. Pull people’s work hours back and give them more time. A quarter of our labour market works past their work week,” said Dr Strazdins to HR Leader.

For more ways to help you manage your work-life balance, visit Healthdirect Australia.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation with Michelle Novotny is below.



Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.