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Balancing Home and Work Life

Faculty members have families with obligations and responsibilities independent of their work. Meeting both career and family expectations is demanding (American Association of University Professors).
The following are tips to help achieve a greater home and work life balance:
1. Unplug (Mental Health America, 2011)
Constantly using or checking technologies for student, colleague, or administrative communication can cause burnout. Make yourself available off-campus during agreed upon hours (i.e. office hours for an online course), then don’t check again until your next dedicated work time.
2. Set strict boundaries between work and home (Seltzer, 2015)
Plan specific times during the week to work on research, teaching, etc., so you can be “off-duty” afterwards. This enables you to focus on family and time for yourself.
3. Maximize outside help (Seltzer, 2015)
Use available resources to help manage your responsibilities, make time for research and writing, and spend time with your spouse and children. Adult care, child care, grocery delivery, housekeeping, laundry service, and babysitting are examples of services that may be helpful.
Look for care takers who are also willing to do household jobs such as sorting toys, food preparation, or folding laundry.
Effectively utilizing your teaching assistants will accomplish more work and reduce stress for you as well as benefit them by enabling them to complete and publish more works to build their CVs.
4. Don’t over commit (Mental Health America, 2011)
If looking at your calendar causes stress, you may be overscheduled. Learn to say no and limit voluntary responsibilities from your committee, department, and personal life.
5. Get support (Mental Health America, 2011)
Communicate regularly with friends, family, colleagues, and even students to build rapport and stronger support systems. Strong support systems contribute to more career success and improved health compared to those with weaker support systems.
6. Take advantage of the Employee Assistance Program and related policies (Mental Health America, 2011)
Make sure to review SIUe’s programs and policies such as SIUe Faculty Parental, Family, and Extended Leave Policies and SIUe Task Force for Family Friendly Policies.
7. Take time for rest and recovery, and engage in interests that require focus (Seltzer, 2015)
Make time per day, week, and month to sharpen your brain by allowing for rest and recovery. Engaging in interests that require focus “support rather than detract from career success” (Seltzer, 2015).

SIUe Campus Resources

Work-Life Programs
“The University’s Work-Life programs include elder care, childcare, wellness and stress management resources. These programs, in keeping with the University’s mission and vision, serve to integrate your professional and personal life so that you may be more productive, engaged, and satisfied in your work setting” (Human Resources, 2016).
Early Childhood Center
“The Early Childhood Center (ECC) provides full-day, year round early childhood care and education for the children of students, faculty, staff, and others in the University community, ages two through five” (Early Childhood Center, 2016).
Family Programming
Family oriented events and activities sponsored by Campus Recreation such as Family Weekend and Dive-In Movie.


American Association of University Professors. Balancing Family & Academic Work. Retrieved from
Early Childhood Center. (2016). Home. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Retrieved from
Human Resources. (2016). Work life at southern Illinois university edwardsville. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Retrieved from
Mental Health America. (2016). Work Life Balance. Retrieved from
Norr, S. (2011). 10 ways moms can balance work and family. Retrieved from
Seltzer, R. (2015). The coach’s guide for women professors: Who want a successful career and a well-balanced life. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Additional Resources

Balancing Career and Family
Article by Elisabeth Pain for Science Magazine
Professor Mommy: Finding Work-Family Balance in Academia
Book by Kristen Ghodsee and Rachel Connelly
The Superwoman Fallacy: What it Really Takes to be an Academic and Parent
Article by Melissa Terras for The Guardian
Work Life Balance
Article by Academic Coaching & Writing

7 Leaders Share Insights about Work-Life Balance
Article by Syracuse University

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