Can you have it all? 6 tips for balancing family and work
Updated: Mar 24
If you’re a working parent you’ve been there – either someone is sick, or school is unexpectedly closed, and you have deadlines. You scramble, if you’re lucky you have a partner who can take today, and maybe you’ll take tomorrow. It’s a balancing act, and it leaves you wondering if you really can have it all.
One of Stryker’s core values is people - we invest in our employees, not only professionally, but as individuals. We are extremely proud that Stryker has been globally recognized as a World’s Best Workplace for five consecutive years, as a Best Workplace for Women in various countries (Korea, Mexico, Greater China, and Italy so far in 2022), and a Best Workplace for Parents in the United States for the past four years. Some credit for these awards can likely be attributed to Stryker’s commitment to the wellness of the entire person.
Seeing our team’s successes in supporting Stryker and their families, we connected with working parents from around the world to see how they balance a family and a career.
6 tips for balancing family and work
1. Prioritize your “must wins” – whether it’s home or work
“I choose to embrace and practice the idea of work and family integration. Some days my family deserves and requires more of my time and attention. Some days Stryker needs me more. It is important to me that at the end of the day I feel good about my decisions, and that my family is on board with my “why” for the day.” - Sarah E. | Director, Meeting Planning & Events | United States
“Our team ensures that the focus on family and well-being comes first and that makes me a more focused employee in the end. We talk to each other’s kiddos on camera. I have the flexibility to volunteer in the classroom. When the school calls, it’s an unsaid rule that it’s ok to drop the call. And just the same, when work sometimes bleeds past 5, my family fully understands the get-give and supports me as I move the needle at work.” – Courtney K. | Director, Corporate Marketing | United States
“Use one calendar – put all of your family commitments, activities, and vacations on the same calendar you plan your workdays on. Using color coding to separate the activities. Commit to what is the most important (both work and personal) – but remember, work will be there tomorrow, eventually, your kids won’t be.” – Chad L. | Area Vice President, Corporate Accounts | United States
“Good communications with my partner is key, especially in ad hoc situations. We both have demanding full-time jobs and we are both fully committed to be the best parents to our son that we possibly can be. Good communication between us is key to understanding what is happening at home and at work, and what are our goals as individuals but also as a family. Together, we help and support each other to have a better work/life balance. “ – Margarita S. | Associate Communications Manager | Netherlands
2. Build a supportive network
“I have always felt supported being a mom at Stryker. I try to connect as much as possible with other moms at work and share experiences about pumping and breastfeeding, which are typically invisible and difficult to share challenges that we face when returning to the office, demanding lots of dedication, sorority, and love to accomplish.” – Heliana D. | Sr. Manager, Human Resources | Costa Rica
“Coming back from maternity leave was tough, trying to figure out how to be a mom and a full-time sales representative with a schedule that changes daily. Stryker has been very supportive while growing our family. I have a manager and team who allow me to prioritize my family.” – Jessica J. | Sales Representative | United States
“I love that Stryker embraces the entirety of who I am as an employee, a mother, and a human. I parent with intention, just like I work with intention. Both take energy, passion, belief, and vision. I am so grateful that my employer values family and well-being first…because if I am centered at home, I’m able to deliver on our mission with even more conviction at work.” – Courtney K. | Director, Corporate Marketing | United States
“I will be taking two months of parental leave this summer to spend time with my husband and two children. While I am away my team is taking the opportunity to further develop by taking on different initiatives that I can delegate. Everyone has been very supportive of my leave, and I believe it will build a stronger team and also lots of happy family memories.” - Roisin H. | Sr. Director, Quality Assurance | Ireland
“Let your people in. My work-life integration is possible because of the amazing people I have at home and at Stryker. Being transparent about my priorities, projects, and deadlines (both at work and at home), as well as communicating how things are going allows others the opportunity to participate or support me. Building these authentic relationships has been key in my career. I gave up the idea of work-life balance. My family and life will always be my number one priority, and my role at Stryker supports that priority.” – Sarah E. | Director, Meeting Planning & Events | United States
“I am so incredibly fortunate to have workplace flexibility that allows me to do after-school pick-up with only 18 hours’ notice or be flexible to run out for a drop-off or practice pick-up.
– Angela S. | Project Manager, Off-site Meetings & Events | United States
“I knew taking parental leave was going to be challenging but what I didn’t realize was that it would end up being the best time of my life. Spending three months with my son Tui has redefined what it means to love and truly be happy in life. I’m back to work this week with a sense of gratitude to my team for covering for me and a new sense of purpose for myself and my family!” – Keone T. | Human Resources Business Partner | Australia
3. Be present, wherever you are
“Commit to “be here now” mentality. When I am at work, I am focused on doing my job. When I am at home, I am focused on being a mom.” – Margarita S. | Associate Communications Manager | Netherlands
“There is never a perfect balance but being present in the moment and making a conscious effort to make sure both work and family are getting the attention that they both deserve from me is probably the best advice that I can give to someone trying to juggle home and work!”
– Tiffany C. | Sr. Mako Product Specialist | United States
4. Focus on time management
“On short days I tend to knock out busy work at the hospital before leaving where there is not much distraction. This allows me to get home to my wife and kids and spend the entire afternoon and evening with them. On long OR days I tend to leave the hospital as soon as I'm finished so I can get home to the family and spend the evening with them. On these days I tend to do the busy work I have after we lay our kids down for bed.”
– Michael R. | Sr. Mako Product Specialist | United States
“I would often take calls in the parking lot of his school while I was waiting for my son.”
– Angela S. | Project Manager, Off-site meetings & events | United States
5. Find work you’re passionate about
“Raising my kids in a “Stryker-household” (aka. virtual employee) has been a gift. My children—9 and 13—get to see that their mom is passionate about her career, and I think that helps inform their future aspirations as they grow.” – Courtney K. | Director, Corporate Marketing | United States
“My passion for my job motivated me to continue my work. It is so rewarding to have a job that improves people’s lives on such a personal level. I’ll never forget my customer’s telling me, “Welcome home” when I came back from maternity leave. It was such a great feeling to know how appreciated I am for the work we do at Stryker.” – Jessica J. | Sales Representative | United States
6. Work at Stryker
Ultimately, one thing ties the first five tips together, and that is the support and culture found at Stryker. Whether you’re in the field traveling for work, or you work from home – Stryker realizes you’re a person first and an employee second. We trust our people, in alignment with their managers, to determine appropriate ways of working that meet individual and business needs.
One of our team members said it best “You can have it all, just maybe not all at the same time.”
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