The management skills that can save your home

By Alice Haine

The DIFC has opened a creche to help working parents feel reassured their little darlings are safe nearby. It’s fantastic news and shows that corporate environments are taking the right steps towards helping employees cope with the stressful demands of juggling a work and home life. I should know; the realities of managing a team at work and a family – whose needs are equally unpredictable if not more so – at home would not make a pretty column. Anyone with an energetic two-year-old rampaging around their villa will understand where I’m coming from.

There’s no doubt keeping on top of my domestic demands requires as much energy and careful thought as keeping tabs on my team in the office. Put simply, organising a family is a little like running a small business. There are budgets to adhere to, difficult client demands and constant changes to the schedule. As a result you have to think like a manager to ensure the situation does not descend into near anarchy. And one of the best ways to ensure that doesn’t happen is to adapt the qualities you use in the workplace to keep the home ticking over. So for those new to the game, here’s a list of skills you need to become the best domestic engineer in town:

– Planning: Must be exceptional as you need to know exactly where your team are and who are keeping them in line every second of the day, 365 days a year

– Financial knowledge: A good head for figures such as how many fishfingers to cook for dinner, and sticking to the family budget when little people demand the latest clothes, toys and trainers is crucial

– Leadership: Ensuring rules are followed and schedules adhered to is a must. Keeping a positive attitude when performing repetitive tasks during moments of intense exhaustion is also important

– Delegation: Hiring help and letting friends lend a hand is the only way to stay sane. If you don’t delegate, you will disappear under piles of dirty washing and discarded toys

– Multi-tasking: Being able to cook a child’s dinner, speak on the phone to the nursery and stop your toddler writing on the wall with permanent black marker all at the same time is key. Note: Women are better at this than men

– Technical know-how: The ability to operate complicated pieces of machinery such as dancing penguins or knowing which tools can remove toy cars from your DVD player are a plus

– Communication skills: Ensuring the nursery teacher, cleaner, childminder and cook are all happy are vital to a schedule’s smooth running

– Problem solving: Recognising when a system is not working is important. Being too exhausted to cook and eat at the end of the day is a clear signal you need a cook

– Adaptability: Must be able to take on new skills such as culinary wizardry, cleaning trickery and last but not least – first aid training

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