Finding Work-Life Balance


 By Sarah McDonough

At Double Forte, we work hard to ensure our clients are really happy.  We also work hard to ensure WE are really happy, while keeping our clients really happy.

Work life balance

A lot of business leaders and publications are talking about the importance of work-life balance these days. Having worked for a few different PR agencies now, I can honestly say from first-hand experience: at Double Forte, it’s not just talk.

No job is a tireless one, but working in an agency environment can be daunting, especially for employees just entering the workforce with little sense of what it’s like to log a 40+ hour work week. The average entry-level public relations employee can find themselves balancing workloads across as many as four different accounts, which makes time management skills a non-negotiable job requirement. New employees frequently bring an eager to help and please mentality to their work. While that is very much appreciated by team members, if not managed carefully it has the potential to lead to employee fatigue and burnout. I know because it’s happened to me. I spent nearly two years working what seemed like around the clock and found myself getting sick every time I took a few days off for personal travel, because my body hadn’t had a chance to slow down and process all of the stress and stimuli I’d been overloading it with.

The Double Forte team doesn’t hang with the burnout crowd.

We’ve got many a mantra here at the Forte, but the one that resonates with me most when thinking about the importance of work-life balance is:

Take care of ourselves like we take care of our clients”

Cheesy though it may sound, none of us would be able to take great care of our clients and their needs if we weren’t also taking the time to address our own needs – both as an agency and as individuals. Hypothetically, if I’m in the office every day until 8 p.m., I’m going to be hard-pressed to find the energy to go to the gym or hang out with my friends and family. My nights will look something like this. As a result, my bitter loneliness could translate to a bitter work attitude and well…no one would want to work with or for me.

On the other end of the spectrum, if I’m expected to regularly staff 5 a.m. conference calls to accommodate multiple time zones, the odds are high that I’ll either oversleep and miss the meeting or miss something important that’s being discussed, because I’m not a morning person and the caffeine likely won’t have kicked in yet.

The beauty of working on a team is that we can rotate turns for staffing the early or late meetings and calls. That and we’re given the opportunity to dial into calls from home if need be.

Whether it’s taking time to sync as an agency and talk about what’s going on across our accounts, spontaneously glitter bombing a colleague, or going for “walk and talks” during 1:1 meetings, our team here at Double Forte is always finding ways to re-energize each other throughout the workday – and allowing us all plenty of “off the clock” time to run, hike, play pretend, or do whatever it is that makes us happiest.

Encouraging our team to unplug at the end of the workday and workweek prevents a lot of over the top meltdowns and keeps us all calm and focused on doing the best possible work for our teams and our clients.

Meet Sarah:

1. What is your favorite book to read?

I just finished Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Usually I go for fictitious page-turners, so going the non-fiction route was a little odd for me. But, I really liked it! It took me a while to get through, but reading about different people’s real-life problems makes navigating this whole life as an adult thing seem significantly more manageable. Check it out!

2. What’s your go-to Karaoke song?

Easy: Mmmbop by Hanson. No judgement.

3. What three things would you immediately buy after winning the lottery?

Financial freedom a.k.a. paying off my student loan and credit card debt, a trip around the world, and before leaving for my trip I’d buy a ginormous apartment for myself with a view of the San Francisco Bay. That sucker would have hardwood floors, high ceilings, a dishwasher (SWOON!), rooftop patio access and a parking spot for the car I’ll probably buy as my fourth purchase because why not? I JUST WON THE LOTTERY!