Job-sharing and parenting: it’s NOT about balance

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As a member of the Mummy’s Gin Fund group, you probably know that this wonderful, lively community started out as a few people coming together because of baby clothes. MGF has grown into a huge network of parents, sharing info and advice, despite often not knowing each other in real life, and figuring it all out together. 

These days while it still takes a village to raise a child, many of us are finding those villages online, virtually. Sharing your experiences, and finding out that no, it’s not just you, has happened to pretty much all of us. We’re all making it work, and we’re all finding our support network as we go. For lots of us, we’re also figuring out how work and parenting and life all go together – and it’s not about balancing priorities against one another.

It’s about fit

Many parents, especially women returning to work after maternity leave, know they want things to be different when they’re thinking about their future work and career. So what does ‘different’ mean? It’s a bit like parenting advice – the same things don’t work for everyone, but we’ve got some ideas for you.

At Flink, we believe it’s not about balancing all these competing priorities. For us, it’s about fitting work and life together, to get you to your goals. It’s recognising what’s a priority for you, and making work work for you and for your family.  In many cases, flexible working can help life and work click together. It’s not one or the other, it’s about sharing the load.

We’ve already welcomed quite a lot of parents and carers to the Flink’s community, and we’d love you to join us there. We want to demystify the world of flexible working, and we’re accelerating that with our new job-sharing platform. Do you know how job-sharing could help you to #ShareTheLoad?

 

Five parenting tips to raise up your career

Some parenting advice is well meaning but pretty impractical. Like ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ – so, when he’s asleep in the back of the car? 

But we’ve got some advice from our Flink job-partner matches, and our own experience, on how you can share the load through job-sharing and flexible work, and how it just might change everything for you.

1. Get a good routine in place

The traditional  ‘bath, book, bed’ routine seems to work for a lot of parents to soothe their little ones to sleep, but does the Monday-Friday 9-5 set everyone up for success? Everyone has the (legal) right to request flexible working, giving them the chance to tailor their working day.  Your everyday doesn’t have to be every day, and it doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else’s day. How could your work day suit you better?

2. Set limits and be consistent

Look at the various elements that you need to fit into your life, such as work, family and caring responsibilities, studying or re-skilling, voluntary work. Decide how you would ideally divide your time, and your energy, across all of these commitments. Then we can help you to confidently request new ways of working with existing employers, or find a job-share partner for your current, or new role.  We’ve seen people successfully establish themselves are job-share partners, grow together professionally and successfully move on as a pair to new roles in other companies. Redefine what work means for you, and it can become your ‘new normal’. 

3. Spend quality time together

Make time work for your work.. Flexible working models can include starting your day at different times, only working in term time, or doing compressed hours. If you’re looking for a job-share partner, be open about how you see your day being spent, especially if you’ll have a handover day together.

4. Make communication a priority

Claire and Hannah, who job-share at a very senior level, agree that job-sharers are ‘there for each other in sickness and in health. Job-sharing is like a marriage.’ Keep talking, and keep sharing – thanks to the widespread adoption of new tech, it’s easier than ever. Your two great minds work together, covering each other when necessary, and sharing your work seamlessly with the wider business. It’s good for everyone.

5. Show that your commitment is strong

Just because you’re not there, doesn’t mean you don’t care.  As our founder Jenny, who works flexibly and has hired people in job-share roles says, “Part-time doesn’t mean we’re half in, or care half as much. Flexible working is about recognising that the traditional 9-5 week is irrelevant to the modern-day employee.’ As job-sharing becomes more widespread, flexible working has the potential to bring back talent into the workplace as people fit work around other responsibilities. 

 

You could be actively job-sharing, or working out how to get back into work, caring for little ones or have kids who’ve flown the nest: no matter what stage you’re at in your parenting journey, or your career, we want to hear from you. Come join the conversations at Mummy’s Gin Fund, and at Flink. We’ve got so much to learn from each other. Sign up here to find out more about flexible working, and how work and family can fit together in the best way possible for you.  

 

This blog post is shared in partnership with the experts at Flink. #ad

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Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online: www.mummysginfund.co.uk.

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