Ash and her husband have exercised many flexible work practices over their careers to balance work, family, home and travel. Ash shares her vast flex work experience and tips for negotiating and working part-time hours and job share.
“Two brains are better than one! ...I would highly recommend it (job sharing). The person I job shared with had a complementary skill set to mine which meant we were both learning so much from each other but it also meant that the business was better off having a broader skill set covered in one head-count.”
Can you please tell us about yourself?
I am a passionate and resilient Senior Marketing Manager working in the travel industry. I am mum to Rosie (3.5yrs) and Freddie (11months). Together with my husband we keep very busy working, spending time with family and friends on the weekend, renovating our house and travelling. I’ve just returned to work in a part-time role after having 12 months off with Freddie.
What flexible work arrangements have you experienced and how have these worked for you?
Working from home
For the last 5 years I have had the opportunity to work remotely which has been so advantageous in so many different situations. I find it most beneficial when a substantial task needs to be completed e.g. strategy or presentation deck. In these situations I need to ensure that I keep distractions to a minimum which is sometimes difficult in an office environment.
Working remotely is also very helpful for early morning or late evening calls that are required with colleagues overseas. In these instances, we have the flexibility to work the hours at home where it makes sense.
My husband also works remotely one day a week which allows him to work from his parent’s home while they look after our children for the day. This balance has been invaluable for our family and allows me to have a day where I can focus completely on work.
Working flexible hours
Flexible hours is hugely advantageous especially when it is built into your work culture. Often I will arrive late to work or have to leave early due to daycare hours, however, I tend to have a longer day Wednesday and so it all balances out.
Early morning and late evening calls are common but balance is also emphasised and so I can take back those hours when I see fit. That might mean that I start later the next day and spend more time with the kids or perhaps I spend more time exercising at lunch. It’s up to me to make sure I have the balance I need.
Working in a job share arrangement
Two brains are better than one! I commenced job-sharing about seven months before I went on my second maternity leave. It was a fantastic experience and although I am no longer job sharing (I moved roles while I was on maternity leave), I would highly recommend it. The person I job shared with had a complementary skill set to mine which meant we were both learning so much from each other but it also meant that the business was better off having a broader skill set covered in one head-count.
What advice would you give a person negotiating part-time hours and/or a job share arrangement?
Be patient and persistent. If you enjoy your existing workplace then it is worth waiting.
What advice would you give to a person starting out in a job share arrangement?
Be flexible. My job share worked well because it was clear from the start that it needed to be a fluid experience as it was new to the business and new to both of us. We needed to find out what worked and what didn’t and we both needed to adapt as we learnt.
What belief or behavior has been most helpful to you in successfully working part-time and/or job share?
A Growth Mindset
What have you become better at saying no to (invitations/meetings/time wasters)? What new work habits helped? Any other tips?
I became good at having faith in my job share colleague and her ability to do the role on the days that I was not there. We, together, also became very good at sharing everything on our overlap day which was on Wednesdays. We both made ourselves available for questions which arose on our off days. This rarely happened but when it did it was important and we both knew that it was okay to text etc.
I became really good at declining meetings that I could not attend. Fortunately many meetings are recorded at my workplace and so we almost always had the opportunity to catch up on the days we worked.
Another tip: be kind to yourself. Adjust the expectations you have of yourself and what you can deliver in the days that you have (especially in the early days of going part-time).