The 2019 Modern Families Index shows that several obstacles remain to flexible and part-time working in the UK. Can law firms lead the way to smashing through them? Most parents are still struggling to balance work, family and income – and it isn’t helped by employers continuing to block routes to flexible working. These are
Q&A: Making a success of job-sharing
We asked an HR Administrator who has worked part-time and job shared throughout her career how she works flexibly for City law firms.
How did you agree with your current employer that a job share was ideal?
I originally returned from maternity leave to a full-time role as my husband stayed at home to look after the children. When he returned to work, it was not viable to work full-time. I asked my employer if they would consider a job share and they were open to it. So we put together a proposal for a job share with both parties working three days a week, with a one-day handover. I was also part of the recruitment process, induction and training.
How did you make the job share work for you and your employer?
First, my job share and I made sure we knew how we would work together. For example, we had one in-tray and we would take work according to priority and urgency. We didn’t have separate roles with different responsibilities. We had one day where we were both in the office so we could ensure a weekly handover.
We are both managed by the same person and we both have the same work ethic and high standards. We also agreed that annual leave and any absences would be covered by the other person so the team we work for are looked after all year around!
The job actually grew so my colleague took on a full-time role and I went down to two days a week which is what I wanted. The job itself moved from six to seven days a week.
Have you had other part-time roles?
Yes, I worked for another law firm part-time. I heard about it from a former colleague but they were actually recruiting for a full-time person. I told them I didn’t want to work full-time so at interview we discussed what they wanted, how I could support them and we agreed I would work two full days and two short days finishing at 2pm. This meant I could still have time for my children – to do their homework, clubs, and have tea together three days a week.
Our readers will want to know how you went about agreeing part-time work with your employers?
In my current role, I had a good reputation so I could open them up to new ideas. But mainly I identified how it would work for them (as well as for me). In all my roles, I made sure my employers knew how everything would be covered and I assured them that nothing would be affected by my absence. I also suggested trial periods to find a happy medium and if necessary, I made myself available even when I was not due in the office, which happens on occasion.
How do you make your part-time working successful?
I make sure everything is covered before I leave for the day. I am pro-active and preempt what needs to be completed. Thinking ahead and always being prepared are my mottos.
Has the flexibility held you back in your career?
Not by the companies I have worked for. I have been asked to go for promotion twice but have declined. This is my career choice and I am happy with the balance between working and my children.
What advice would you give someone wanting to work part-time or a job-share?
You must give and take. If you want your employer to be open to flexible working then you must also be flexible. It doesn’t happen very often but my employers always know they can rely on me if and when needed.
If you would be interested in taking part in a Q&A to share your story on flexibility in the workplace, we would love to hear from you. Contact us at Sarah.Broad@AttuneJobs.com