We talk a lot about flexible working. As women, or men, trying to combine parenthood and careers it’s the holy grail but even if you do manage to convince your employer that allowing you flexible working options is not only viable but mutually beneficial how do you really put it together in a practical sense, especially if you work from home?
In a perfect world we would be able to sit down in our home offices undisturbed for a few hours at a time and work as we might have done in the office but if you’re anything like me this doesn’t always happen. I have two children in two different schools, both of which are a four mile drive away from home. Add to that the time spent waiting around for them to finish activities and the such like and there is quite a lot of dead time in my day which I could utilise more fruitfully.
To combat this I’ve come up with a plan. I’ve turned my car into an office! I’ve purchased a blue tooth headset and in car phone charger as well as installing a permanent notepad and pen. I also make sure that my ipad is with me at all times so I can receive and send email.
This may sound a bit ridiculous but I spend at least an hour a day waiting in the car and turning that hour to work makes a big difference in my output and it’s an hour less that I don’t have to work in the evening when the kids have gone to bed.
The other major skill I’ve developed is a hand signal. If I’m on a business call and one of my children talks to me they will be given the signal. It means, very clearly, ‘stop talking right now and wait until I’ve finished my call, or else’. It’s taken a little practise but they have it clear now. J
I’m sure everyone has their own ways which work for them but I guess the key to making it work is to utilise every moment as best you can. It takes a bit of practice but it’s working for me.
So, the next time you call Parental Choice and I answer the phone the likelihood is the call has been forwarded from the office and I’m sitting in my car outside a primary school waiting to pick Little Miss up. What you’ll know for sure is that you will get the same great service as you would if I was sitting in the office because flexible working works and we’re experts at it!
Have a great weekend.
- Flexible small businesses (xlntelecom.co.uk)
- How many mothers fully understand their rights when returning to work? (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- Combining a Career with Children (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- A means to many ends: experiences of flexible working (ageukblog.org.uk)