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how to excel in your career by embracing work-life balance

Updated: Feb 19

work life balance as a parent
Simone Scheffer about a supporting company culture at Porsche Holding

With 90% of people in leadership positions stating that they lack a work-life balance, committing to cultivating a positive connection with one's work is more critical than ever. But luckily, it’s also becoming more achievable than ever, with companies becoming more aware that the long-term wellbeing of their employees is crucial. We've compiled a set of practical tips, to help you navigate this balancing act, based on insights from an eye-opening interview with Simone Scheffer, Managing Director at Porsche Inter Auto, a retail subsidiary of Porsche Holding Salzburg, a leading automotive brand.

Simone Scheffer is not only one of the few female leaders in the automotive industry/company, but also a mother. She believes that as a parent, you can contribute to a culture that values work-life balance, by leading by example and demonstrating that it is possible to excel in your career while living a fulfilled family life. Simone shares her success story and motivates others, especially young talent, to explore a career path that is in line with what they want for themselves and their personal life.

Porsche Holding Salzburg fosters a proactive approach to parental leave and work-life harmony through shared leadership, innovative childcare initiatives, and more. Based on Simone’s experience, she encourages other women to advocate for balanced careers.

"I am really happy that there are more and more initiatives around bringing family and career together. For this reason, I am more often asked to tell my story and motivate others. I am really thankful and proud that I am able to share my experience but especially that I can be a role model for women." - Simone Scheffer

By following these tips and leveraging the family-friendly initiatives within your organization, you can work toward achieving a better balance between your professional and personal life.

Simone Scheffer's journey: from trainee to leadership

Simone's journey from a trainee in HR to leading two dealerships is a testament to Porsche's commitment to fostering growth beyond parenthood. "Making a career step after maternity leave was a significant decision. I am thankful for the chance to show that having a family doesn't hinder career development," Scheffer shares.

"Being a parent should never be a hindrance but an asset to career growth. Our company values and promotes this perspective." - Simone Scheffer

5 tips for a better work-life balance

1. establish a realistic work schedule

In today's evolving work landscape, creating a work schedule that aligns with your needs and prevents burnout is essential. Open conversations with your employer about workload and expectations, proposing practical solutions, and fostering honesty and transparency are key to work-life balance.

By actively managing your workload and engaging in open discussions with your employer, you can create a work schedule that not only benefits your career but also allows you to enjoy a fulfilling personal life. This balanced approach is essential for navigating the ever-changing demands of the modern workplace while preserving your well-being.

2. prioritise personal well-being & leverage family-friendly policies

Take advantage of family-friendly policies offered by your company, such as shared leadership positions, part-time leadership roles, and company kindergartens. These policies can help you better manage your responsibilities as a parent while pursuing your career.

"Our company offers a company kindergarten and corporations with kindergartens around our dealerships. If women come back from maternity leave they offer shared leadership positions and leadership positions part-time. By now maternity leave for men is fully accepted within the company," says Simone Scheffer.

Taking breaks to spend quality time with family and disconnecting digitally to prevent burnout is pivotal when it comes to your wellbeing. Learning how to openly communicate your break times to ensure they're respected, is also an important part of taking ownership of your own health.

"Having a family means investing in quality time. My managers believed in me and gave me the chance to show that having a baby at home is no showstopper for career development," adds Simone Scheffer

Amidst your demanding work life, make your personal well-being a priority. Schedule regular time to nurture your physical, mental, and emotional health through activities like meditation, spending time with your loved ones, exercise, reading, or hobbies.

3. learn to advocate for your career

If you feel that the lack of family-friendly policies are impacting your career progression, don't hesitate to take action. Discuss your concerns with your department manager, HR, or diversity manager. Seek advice and support from the workforce council. Advocate for your career goals while maintaining a work-life balance.

If you are returning from parental leave, engage in open communication with your HR department and your department's management. Collaborate to find a suitable reintegration plan before you leave for parental leave. If circumstances prevent this, stay in regular contact with your employer to define future reintegration options.

"Open communication is key. We encourage employees to talk to their managers, HR, or the diversity manager to ensure their voices are heard." says Simone Scheffer. Saying 'no' when overwhelmed and communicating boundaries is crucial. "The company offers different ways if employees feel disadvantaged: talking to the manager of the department, talking to HR and diversity manager or using advice from the workforce council." Simone Scheffer clarifies.

4. craft a work-from-home routine

For those working remotely, maintaining work-life balance can be tricky. Create a structured work-from-home routine that defines your working hours, establishes a dedicated workspace, and adheres to a schedule just as you would in a physical office. Employers should acknowledge the importance of allowing employees to take vacation time for recharging, even in remote work settings. This can lead to improved performance and overall well-being.

5. seek support networks

Explore available resources and support networks within or beyond your organization. For instance, if you face challenges related to family responsibilities or childcare, inquire about resources like "Notfallmamas" or similar programs that provide assistance during difficult situations.

"Notfallmamas" are a resource that provides day care assistance in cases of sickness or illness of a child or parent, offering valuable support to employees facing challenging compatibility issues without help. "At Porsche Holding Salzburg, in case of sickness or illness of a child or parent, a cooperation with so-called 'Notfallmamas' is offered. This is a day care if compatibility is difficult without help," says Simone Scheffer.

achieving a healthy work-life balance is possible

Simone Scheffer’s journey serves as a valuable guide for professionals seeking to advocate for their careers while embracing work-life harmony. Her inspiring story and commitment to being a role model for women highlight the importance of leading by example, emphasizing that being a parent should enhance rather than hinder career progression.

These five practical tips, from establishing a realistic work schedule to leveraging family-friendly policies and advocating for your career, provide actionable steps for individuals looking to navigate the demands of the modern workplace while prioritizing their well-being. Eager to get some tips to excel in your career and as parent? Our community offers success circles for career mums. Join us now and start your work-life balance journey!

about Simone:

Simone Scheffer is a dedicated professional with a successful career at Porsche Holding Salzburg. She has held various positions within the company, showcasing her commitment to personal and professional growth. Simone's journey from a trainee in HR to a leadership role reflects her dedication to advocating for career progression while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. As a parent herself, Simone is passionate about promoting work-life harmony and is known for her role as a motivating figure, inspiring others, particularly women and young talent, to explore diverse career paths while effectively managing childcare responsibilities. Her story serves as a testament to the possibility of excelling in one's career while fulfilling family obligations, and she continues to be a role model for women in the workplace.

about Porsche Holding Salzburg:

Porsche Holding Salzburg is the largest and most successful automotive distributor in Europe. The Salzburg-based company was founded in 1949 and has been a 100 % subsidiary of Volkswagen AG since March 1, 2011. Porsche Holding Salzburg is active in wholesale, retail, financial services and IT system development sectors. Today it operates in 29 countries in Austria, Western and South-Eastern Europe as well as in Colombia, Chile, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan. At the end of 2022, the company employed around 34,900 people, selling more than 656,200 new cars and generating a turnover of 25.8 billion euros.

Porsche Holding Salzburg fosters an innovative approach towards ways-of-work and compatibility, particularly through innovative childcare initiatives and family-friendly policies. The company values and promotes a culture that supports career growth beyond parenthood, making it an exemplary organization for those seeking for balance between their fulfilling career while managing family responsibilities.


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