Diversity: Omesh Fabiani on Work-Life Flexibility

Freddie Luchterhand-Dare
March 9, 2023

In line with our guiding principles committing to gender diversity at Openspace, we decided to ask our CFO, Omesh Fabiani, on how he achieves work-life flexibility. Apart from being responsible for operational and strategic financial initiatives here at the office, Omesh is also a father of two. We could all take a leaf from his book and learn a thing or two on how he manages to juggle between his multiple roles.

We find it admirable on how he manages to be a working parent successfully juggling both his responsibilities at Openspace and at home. To begin, we asked him on how he does it, and he said:

“I’ve found that finding a balance between work, family, friends and yourself requires time management, flexibility, compromise and building some sort of support system you can lean on. It can be tricky as work and family life can both sometimes be unpredictable, but it is definitely rewarding. It helps that I have an amazing partner who is on the same wavelength, great colleagues, and work I enjoy!”

Speaking of his wife, we were curious about how they were able to coordinate between parenting and household responsibilities given their busy schedules. He explained, saying:

“After some time of doing everything together, my wife and I decided to split up responsibilities to get more out of our time. So naturally I got a spreadsheet going to figure out the optimal configuration and we negotiated a little on the early morning duties (I lost).

For example, now on the weekends she does soccer with my son and horse-riding with my daughter. I do tennis with my daughter and chess with my son. We all do swimming together followed by lunch. One evening is date night and the other is friends night. This way we each have quality one-on-one time with each other and each kid, family time, time with friends, and even personal time to deflate! Likewise, we also each have primary responsibility for every other thing that’s required to run a household and bring up the kids, and of course we cover for each other when things come up!

We use a shared calendar to keep each other up to date on what’s happening, when, and who needs to be there, so there’s no longer an excuse for me to be double booked and panic.”

Here, he has some valuable tips for fellow working parents as well:

  • Do only what you can manage so you can stay sane and in control most of the time. It’s easy to get carried away as a parent to put your kid into all kinds of sports and classes. The logistics will drive you mad, and kids also need time to just be kids!
  • Use your calendar for EVERYTHING. Work meetings, commute time, focus work time, specific errands that need to be run, evening family time, gym, flexi time, etc. This will give you a very good idea of how you are spending your time and help you ensure there is time for everything you decide to put there. And if there’s no more space, you’ll have to prioritize!
  • Share the load as a family, split responsibilities with your partner, and get the kids involved too to slowly build up a sense of responsibility - if you want to go to the school outing to the zoo, remember to bring me the consent form and a pen or you might miss it; check that you have money for lunch each day, or else you’ll need to wait for a double portion of dinner at home; check that your school bag has everything you need for the next day, or else you might not be able to participate.
  • Establish a support system that allows you some flexibility with your time. It could be using school bus service and after-school care, help from family or friendly neighbors, or the support from work to have some flexibility on time or location when required. Say yes to any birthday party invitation that is a “drop off”!
  • And [most importantly] preserve alone time with your partner! It’s easy for it to become all about work or all about the kids. My wife and I have a date night every week, and we go on a holiday every year without the kids!

We also asked him about how Openspace promotes work-life flexibility, and these were several that he brought up:

  • We talk about work-life flexibility openly as a firm
  • We make it a point to not ask for anything to be done on weekends or while someone is on leave, 99.9% of the time
  • Seniors lead by example blocking out time for family or occasionally working from other locations to accommodate their family lives, and many have followed
  • There is a powerful culture of winning as one that not only leads to high performance and encourages taking on challenges for continuous improvement, but also emphasizes teamwork, collaboration, and generally being helpful to each other
  • Many people are are able to do at least 2 functions - this provides actual support if needed, and also psychological support that its there

As a final piece of advice, he added: “Whatever you are doing, be present.”