Life as a working mom can be very challenging, especially now that most are still working remotely, and the lines between work and home are blurred. Each mom is different, and each workplace must cater to individual needs to ensure work-life balance.
Yani Hornilla-Donato, Canva Philippines’ Country Manager, Chrissie Peria, Copy Lead for Canva’s Template Design Team, and Christine Reyes, Creative Lead for Canva’s Elements Team, share how they have found balance between work and home, and how workplaces can create the best environment for moms.
1. Learn to set boundaries
As Canva Philippines’ Country Manager, Yani is passionate about growing the team in Manila. She loves to share creative ways to connect Canva with Filipinos and help people communicate visually.
Based on her experience as a new mom, Yani talks about the importance of communication, while also being intentional in setting goals, empowering teams, and setting boundaries.
There are simple ways to establish boundaries—physically, mentally, and socially. Yani said, “Setup a workstation at home. A place where you can focus and send a signal to other people that you are working. Ideally, create a separate workspace from your place of rest.”
Yani has placed a hard stop to the end of her working day. “I start early, so I can finish by 4 in the afternoon. 5:00 pm and beyond is dedicated for my family, especially my new baby. I want to be present, take care of her, and witness her milestones. And definitely no work on weekends! Except for emergencies,” she added.
In a work from home set-up, it’s become difficult for some to switch off from work. “I make it a point to spend time catching up with people and sincerely asking them, ‘How are you?’. I’m also a huge fan of birthdays, so whenever I can, I try to orchestrate really fun online birthdays for people at work,” said Yani.
Canva has been featured in the Top 3 Best Workplaces in the Philippines for two years in a row, according to Great Place to Work, and Yani is proud of the culture that the team has established.
2. Schedule leave and rest to spend time with family
Canva wants to help moms find balance between being a present mother, and also thriving at work. The company has increased the number of maternity days for its employees every year.
“We have a generous leave package that affords all of us time off. We also try to extend flexibility wherever possible, especially for moms who need to adjust their schedules at home,” Yani added.
Chrissie, the Copy Lead for Canva’s Template Design Team, and responsible for populating Canva’s library with the wonderful templates, shared how Canva helped everyone settle into the remote working setup during the pandemic. Initiatives include giving allowances to improve workspaces at home, providing food and utility provisions, and hosting health and wellness virtual events to help employees cope.
3. Find your pack, nurture a culture of support and understanding
It is important to find a good support system and be open to your managers and wider team about your needs. This way they can support and understand you better. Christine, the Creative Lead for the Elements Team in Canva Manila, works with a team of creatives to produce graphic elements. One of the challenges she faces as a mom is being able to spend time with her family with a clear head.
“It took a while for me to completely let go of the habit of checking my work email and Slack beyond 4:00 pm, but I’ve learnt to be successful in that aspect. My leads always assure me that nothing will break even if I don’t answer everything after 4:00 pm,” Christine said.
At Canva, teams check on each other, have regular social calls and are quick to pick-up another person’s load if they need support. “Everyone is so understanding — children barging in on calls are greeted with smiles and small talk, dogs and cats get paraded on screen, and crowing roosters in the background are brushed off with giggles and no judgement,” Chrissie shared.
“We have Internal Coaching available for everyone too. This is especially helpful for moms who are going through tough things, and need or want a coach to offer guidance,” Yani said.
4. Share the fun work culture with your family
Canva’s Vibe Team is built on creating a work environment where everyone is empowered to do their best work and give back to the community.
Pre-pandemic Canva used to have Family Days, as well as events during special occasions like Halloween, when employees would bring their kids along to the Manila office to play. The Vibe team also hands out Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) presents and holds special events at the office.
“With our new working arrangements, our celebrations have shifted online. And while we’re not together physically, they’re just as heartwarming. We all aim to be good humans, and a force for good in a world that’s facing challenging times. And I’m lucky enough to be surrounded and supported by these wonderfully good people,” Chrissie shared.
5. Find your motivation. Become a “Force for Good”
“Being a force for good” is one of Canva’s core values. The company works towards a world that isn’t just good for a small few, but one that’s good for everyone. Like most startups, life at Canva is very fast paced and everyone gives their best to adapt and react to the needs of their users.
“Everyone is encouraged to contribute and help improve the product and the user experience. It’s pretty fulfilling, knowing that you had a direct hand in something that makes someone’s life easier,” Chrissie shared. “The biggest thing to love about what I do, is how my work empowers people on a daily basis. Writing is something that comes naturally to me, but it’s not the case for everyone. So knowing that I can use my skills to make others’ lives easier is motivating,” she added.