Flexible working - a recipe for success

It’s essential to recognise the achievements of part-time senior business leaders, and get more people involved in this conversation. So here’s my story…
In 2011, after having my first son, I moved from full-time to part-time so that I could have an extra day to spend more time with him. The balance worked well for me, so when I had my second son two years later, I decided to stick with it. Now they are 5 and 7, I’m still working flexibly and I’ve been promoted several times, including to my current role as Director of Finance.
I think it’s important to show that it’s possible to keep progressing while working part-time. That’s why, in addition to my day job, I mentor women who are considering working flexibly after maternity leave.
Whatever your reason for going part-time – having children or otherwise – doesn’t mean the end of your career. In fact, it can provide that crucial balance to keep you motivated and engaged. Here’s how I make flexible working, work for me.
Be organised and ruthless in how and where you spend your time. I’m up early to plan my day so I can hit the ground running when I get into the office. At the start of each week, I lay out weekly priorities, goals and timelines with my team, and stay clear and consistent with my manager on what my working hours are, when and how I can be contacted. I also plan childcare in advance for any international travel or longer working days – avoiding the stress of any last minute panics!
Develop a strong team: Over the years, I’ve found that having a strong team is a driver of success; letting someone else step in, allowing me to step back a little and focus on my children on my day off. It’s also good for others’ development, giving them the platform to step-up and deal with senior leaders.
Support both at work and at home: Having a supportive boss, who is sympathetic to my working pattern helps a lot; as does having the support I need at home to allow me to focus on my job when I really need to.
Stay flexible: It’s important to realise there may be times where you need to be flexible e.g. in a new role, or a busy period - flexibility works both ways. I make a point of not being too rigid on my day off, periodically checking emails so that I stay on top of what’s going on.
That being said – and I’ll end on this crucial point - I stick to my planned hours, rarely leaving after 5.30, and making sure I never miss a bed time story!
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