Celebrating our working dads for Father’s Day

By Nina Patten, Felicity Kelly

9 September 2019

4 minute read

Finding true work life balance is the holy grail to which every workplace aspires to provide, but few achieve. Our ‘Balance’ flexible work arrangement is about harnessing our diversity, supporting our team’s health and wellbeing, empowering our people and increasing team productivity.

We’ve moved away from a one-size-fits-all approach to how, when and where our people work. This flexibility enables each person to shape their own working arrangements. For Father’s Day we spoke to a few of our working dads to find out how Balance works for them.

Ricky Pena

A mother, father and two children smiling at the camera.

Father of two boys, F45 enthusiast and outdoor adventurer. When he’s not with his family, Ricky is our acting HR Director.

“Being able to balance work and life means that I don’t have to choose between family, health or CSIRO. It’s always a challenge finding the right balance but I’m certainly working on it! I’m currently working a nine-day fortnight which allows me to work the additional hours over nine days so I can take the tenth day off. If I’m honest, most fortnights are nine and a half days, but I still manage to leave early on the tenth day. This allows me to spend an afternoon out at lunch with my wife or be there in time to pick up my kids from school.”

James McLaughlin

A father, mother and two kids at the beach sitting on a wooden fence.

Father of two and marine crusader in our Oceans and Atmosphere team.

“We have two boys, aged 12 and eight, and raising them without any family support has been challenging. My wife and I are both working parents and shortly after we had our first son, we decided that we didn’t want to have him in daycare five days per week. I have used reduced-working-year leave equating to one day off per week since then. It’s given me one-on-one time to spend with my sons as they’ve grown. I’ve had time to attend school functions and sporting events and to work on my studies. It’s important for us to have time to spend with our kids and be available to support them.”

Damian Thomson

A father with his son, daughter and dog sitting on a concrete wall.

Avid reader, shuttle bus driver and Project Lead on our Ningaloo Shallow Reefs project.

“The flexibility CSIRO provides in terms of work hours and location is key to successfully balancing my work/home life. For example, on the weeks I have the children, I am approved to work two days a week from the Waterman’s Laboratory. This facility is located close to my home, which reduces my total commute time by an hour and 20 minutes and allows me to collect the children from school. Flexible workplaces should be valued by everyone. It’s easy to forget that diversity in the workplace (often) relies on diversity at home. For example, an important enabler to allow my (then) wife to return to work following the birth of our second child, was my ability to take long service leave to care for our children.”

Matthew Kimber

A father and son

Balancing family and life out at sea with our Science Operations Manager at the Marine National Facility.

“Our initiatives support my team to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This is particularly important across the Marine National Facility where we can spend 60 days away on the ship, isolated from friends and family. Having the ability to take some extra time off before or after a voyage, or working remotely, gives my team greater flexibility to manage some of the challenges that presents. My wife works casually with some variability and last-minute changes to her hours, so managing these situations (or an unwell child) can add extra challenges. The organisation has put a lot of energy into developing a supportive culture in this space and I always feel like I have options to meet these challenges.”