The woman of many hats
Multitaskers, many roles and switching in between
Wearing many hats at home and at work can mean a variety of things – being skilled in many different areas, having input in decisions, getting exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking, being overwhelmed and having a lot of responsibility of your shoulders.
The term of wearing many hats is an idiom which means to have many jobs or roles. Inevitably, everyone wears more than one hat at any one time, and these hats will continue to change over time – leader, problem solver, friend, colleague, child etc. Being agile and adaptable to the hats that life throws at you unexpectedly, and being able to balance your hats is important to having a good life balance (not just a good work/life balance).
Accuteque’s many hats and multitaskers
When entering the workforce, I knew that I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into a job that limited me to one type of work that was repetitive. My goal was to find something that included critical thinking, problems that needed solving, and a job where no two days were ever the same. My role at Accuteque has surpassed that criteria as I have been exposed to many areas of the business, increased my skills and knowledge in tools and programs that are not limited to marketing, and have had responsibilities added to my shoulders as Accuteque has changed and grown. As a small consultancy, its normal at Accuteque that people wear many hats – and it’s part of our DNA to give people range in their roles. It keeps everyone engaged and challenged in the day to day, with the opportunity to cross skills from consultant to leading a project, to running a meeting and being responsible for a business unit. For some people it has kept them in the business as they have moved into different client projects, responsibilities and platforms.
Historically woman have always worn many hats in their professional and personal lives. Multitasking, particularly under pressure has been a skill that women perform better at than men on average, as studies have shown. They have also shown women on average are better at prioritising tasks that need to be done by generally having more methodical reasoning processes when completing the tasks, and are better at switching between tasks than men. Being organised is a key skill in which women may have learned through experience, and from society’s increasing expectations that women can “do it all”. Being able to “do it all” simply isn’t possible without help in different facets of your roles and life – kids going to childcare, a great team at work, getting groceries delivered, sharing household responsibilities.
Modern Women – My Story
Setting boundaries helps with the switching of hats – putting your work hours in your MS Teams status message, blocking out your non-work hours in your work calendar, changing your status from available to do not disturb if you have a deadline to meet.
Finding the best way to communicate if you can switch hats to focus on something else at work is different for everyone, these are the ones that work best for me – putting my work hours into my MS Teams status message, blocking out your non-work hours in my work calendar, changing my status from available to do not disturb if I have a deadline to meet. Another example of wearing many hats is that some of the team join our early morning whole of business calls via public transport on their way into the office, so they still get the chance to connect to the wider team. Wearing the hats of commuter, being at a client site and still engaging with the Accuteque team is a great example of multitasking.
Schedule ongoing activities whether its meetings at work, regular sport, an art class or when to do the grocery shopping makes it easy to stick to as well. My weekly netball game time always changes so I ensure that my work team knows when I need to leave if it’s an earlier timeslot. I also have a whiteboard in my house to show what activities I have on for the week and what my family has on, it also acts as a visual reminder when we may be switching between roles and need more support or allowances in the day to day. A great chance to use or hone your colour coding and charting skills.
Beware of burnout
One thing we should all be wary of when wearing many hats and multiskilling is burnout. Burnout from work is exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. By testing and understanding your limits you will know your capabilities and be able to make a more informed decision if you decide you are wearing too many hats. Having structures in place to alleviate and minimise the risk of falling victim to burnout is important. Part of Accuteque’s ability to check in with the team comes from daily stand ups which give everyone a chance to relay their capacity which is a great chance to help take some of the load off people’s plates.
Bringing it to life at Accuteque.
Wearing many hats and helping out members of our team also links back to one of the values in Accuteque’s social contract about sharing the load. Our ability to switch between and multitask is only possible to a certain degree so having the support in place as part of our core structure ensures our team is on the same page about reaching out for help. Our social contract also states what sharing the load is not, it’s not piling unnecessary work onto other people because you don’t want to do it. Therefore wearing many hats, especially for women, should be done at your own choice with the right support system around you to make it possible.