For many parents, working part time is the holy grail: continuing their career, spending proper time with the kids, getting to go to the loo by yourself.
Trouble is, it’s not always easy to figure out how to make it happen.
Many job roles are still built around the assumption that there’s someone at home – the wife, basically – doing all the domestic stuff so that the employee can be 100% available for work.
A dumb assumption, obviously.
As a result, there’s a huge untapped pool of super smart, highly educated and experienced professionals—the vast majority of whom are women—who would love to work part time but just can’t find the right role.
There are also some brilliant initiatives to help parents learn a new skill while they’re on parental leave, ahead of a return to work. We love Digital Mums, Google’s Campus for Mums and Dads, and Mums in Technology. We know several people who have graduated from these programmes and gone on to great things.
At Koru Kids we also LOVE the idea of parents working for us – who better to help build the world’s best childcare service? To make it easier for parents to join our team, we’ve shaped some of our jobs around parents who want to work part time. We’ve created roles which are perfect for people who had a fantastic—if intense—career before having kids and who now want something flexible but still interesting, intellectually challenging, and rewarding. Depending on the role, flexibility could mean term time only, or each day until school pick-up time, or 2-3 full days per week. (In case you’re interested, our current roles are here. We also love cold approaches from parents who don’t fit any of our current roles but whose skills could help us in some specific way.)
As a company, you do need to think differently when planning for flexibility. Not every role suits being part time. You also need to be prepared to invest in your part time employees. There’s a ‘fixed cost’ of having any individual on your books, as each person needs a certain amount of management time and support regardless of their working pattern, and part timers need to be kept up to speed on what’s going on when they’re not there. There’s no doubt it’s easier to run a team of 10 full timers than one of 20 part timers. But we think it’s worth the extra effort because of the extra experience parents bring to the table. We want them on our team.
Here’s a mind-blowing fact, which we take as somewhat of an inspiration: in the Netherlands, the majority of people work part time. The average week is 29 working hours, the shortest in Europe. Food for thought, eh?