22 Jan 2020
What flexible working means to me
Head of Talent Operations, Caroline talks about her experience of being a mother working part-time and the resistance to flexible working she previously encountered.
I have worked for BAME Recruitment on a part time basis for just over two years as a Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant and now Head of Talent Operations. Prior to joining BAME I had been out of work for over a year after being made redundant following my second child. I went from being a successful member of a team to not fitting with the new structure during a TUPE situation. Basically, the new organisation had no room for anyone who needed the flexibility of part-time!
Over the course of the next year I was contacted numerous times by agencies who never called again when I said I wanted to work part-time, spoke to old colleagues who only had full-time opportunities and applied for a copious amount of jobs that I never got a response to. I felt disappointed, demoralised, depressed and guilty that I was no longer able to contribute into family finances.
Then in Sept 2017 I received a call from Cynthia, CEO of BAME Recruitment. She had seen my details on LinkedIn and was looking for someone to join her team. We spoke about what each of us were looking for and when I said, “part-time” I waited for the “unfortunately” word, but instead Cynthia said, “no problem”! Two interviews later I started back in the land of the employed in October 2017, two days a week, one in the office in London and one from home as I am based in Reading.
My part-time hours have never been an issue because the company is forward thinking, committed to diversity and cares about their employee’s needs, wellbeing, motivations and fully embraces agile working patterns. I am completely comfortable when I need to make any requests around changing my weekly work pattern, leave early, or even have a need to work from home if I have a sick child. Recently I increased my days at work to three, however when I work from home, I do schools hours to allow me to do pickups and drop offs for my children.
I fully appreciate that I am in a very privileged position to be able to have a job I love and balance it with family commitments. Unfortunately, in the present climate I feel that I am one of the exceptions rather than the norm. I have many mum friends who are either out of work or very unhappy with their work situations due to the lack of flexibility offered. I think it is time that employers start opening their minds and embrace flexible working. I truly believe that you get far more productivity out of an employee who can balance work life and home life as easily as possible. I certainly want to work to the best of my ability for an employer who values my wellbeing and understands my situation as a working mother.