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HOME ECONOMICS IN THE FESTIVE SEASON: Applying BPR techniques in our homes

By Bernadette Deka-Zulu (PhD Researcher-Public Enterprises)


WITH the heightened cost of living to be expected or surface in the coming year, this is the best time to rethink and strategise on expenditure versus earnings in our homes.

The festive season presents itself as a time for family and reunions which we can ride on, to reflect on the year that has passed and plan for what lies ahead.

Whether you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life or simply need time to reflect on what’s happened over the past year, we have some tips to make this season feel like a retreat-facing reality while not forgetting to be thankful for life, family, health and many other things.

This article delves into the festive season as a time to regroup and refocus as individuals and most importantly as families. Looking at the challenges families might have faced along the year and how to make changes or reengineer some processes in the home.

When it comes to raising families in homes, we hear of many challenges that are encountered. Sometimes they could be unbearable to a point that some even give up. Today, we are witnessing a lot of suicide cases, as a result of what could be termed as unbearable circumstances.

Some of the most common challenges leading to distress:

  1. Financial management

The number one challenge faced in most homes is financial management, which involves managing our money and keeping it safe. It affects every aspect of our lives, including the ability to provide for ourselves and our children.

These financial problems bring about challenges that have potential to make it difficult for the whole family to have access to basic needs, ssecuring shelter, food security, and even saving for retirement.

Financial problems in families can happen as a result of many factors, including hardships caused by a broader economic downturn, debt, job loss, health challenges etc.

  • Time Management

Homes are hard to maintain. The things we have to do to keep them running which includes managing all their appointments and activities as well as things like household chores can take up a lot of our time, and you might not have enough hours in the day to get it done especially when it comes to physical maintenance tasks or even family time, also caring for growing children

  • Communication

Communicating with each other, as well as with others outside of the family unit. This can be difficult because it requires people who are willing to listen closely and work out problems together rather than just being able to solve everything solo and collectively.

The communication challenge in homes is a major issue that affects every aspect of one’s life. It affects how we speak to our loved ones, friends, and or coworkers. It can affect our ability to communicate with people around us and, can even have an adverse effect of how individuals view themselves.

Communication challenges are more common than most people realise, but it does not have to be this way!

  • Health Issues

Health is a vital component needed in maintaining a successful and happy home.

When an illness strikes a home, and a loved one who is the bread winner either dies or cannot provide as they should, what happens to the rest of family; especially children? This causes distress and unimaginable panic in the home.

Illnesses can strike in various forms e.g physical health issues, untimely accidents, depression or even anxiety. This can make it difficult for family members to be happy together. Things change and they change management, that’s where BPR techniques come in.

Process reengineering;

The first step towards solving any problem is understanding it. In the same way, if we want our homes to be more sustainable and efficient, we need to understand how they work and how they can be improved.

As Process Reengineering has been defined in previous articles, it involves the radical redesign of core undertakings to achieve the desired results. In Process Reengineering, ‘it is critical to start with a blank sheet of paper and rethink existing operations to deliver more value to, in this case ‘the family.’’

To have a successful process reengineering, one needs to think in line with some of these pointers;

  • Identify a need for change
  • Determine which changes are possible and feasible
  • Design the solution by moving or reengineering processes
  • Implement the solution

To help with the management of some of these challenges in your home, I would recommend some tips to restructure the way certain things are done.

Try these tips;

  1. Family Discussions. Sit down as a family and discuss the various emerging or existing problems you are facing. It’s not always easy to talk, but it’s essential that you and your family are on board with what needs to take place to get back on track. You can brainstorm together ways to save more money or make a game out of it, so it’s more fun for the kids.

Although this is a stressful time, you can still make it an enjoyable discussion. You could share Masuku or a sweet course of choice and have a family game night afterwards so you can bond.

  1. Make a plan and stick with it. Write down everything you need to do every day and prioritise them by importance. Create routines that help you feel more organised throughout the day, avoid spending much energy thinking about what needs to be done next or where it needs to be done next.
  2. Setting New Financial Trajectory. Perhaps you and your spouse are having problems due to finances. Or the kids don’t understand why you can’t afford to take a trip or buy an item they really want. Whatever the reason is you are having family financial problems, the good news is there are ways you can improve your finances.
  3. Create a budget
  4. Get Frugal
  5. Create alternative income
  6. Have family discussions

In the end, what is most important is that the family process reengineering has been a success for your family. Your family would have learned about each other, and how to work and live together in a way that is more effective than before and in no time you shall proclaim Ebenezer, indeed you would have come far from turmoil to even better!

Wishing you peace and joy, from my merry family to yours.

Happy Festive season.


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