Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Using Flexible Working to balance work and family

Are you wondering whether applying for a flexible working arrangement could help you manage the never-ending clash between family and home life?

Juggling work and family will always be a feature of any mum’s life. However flexible working is one tool that you can use to potentially find a better balance for yourself.

Flexible working means making a change to where, when or how you do your work.

Below is a quick summary of the most common types of flexible working, and how they will typically help your work-life balance.

Part-time work This arrangement involves working less than 38 hours per week. You will free up more time for family life by reducing your work hours.  
Remote workRemote work generally refers to working in a location other than the office. Great for gaining back 1-2 hours per day that you would usually spend commuting. If you are working from home, you can also manage household tasks during your downtime.
Adjusted start and finish timesMaking adjustments to your start and finish time is great for those who wish to work full time, while also being able to manage school drop-offs and pick-ups, or other activities that clash with your working hours. If you commute, this can also help you avoid peak hour.
Condensed scheduleThis is a great option if you need to keep your full-time salary, or you want access to the broader range of jobs that are available on a full-time schedule, while still securing a day off work each week. For example, you could work 9.5 hours per day, across 4 days. With this option, it is important to have great boundaries at work, to avoid work creeping into your day off.
Use of Long Service Leave, Annual Leave, or Unpaid LeaveAnother interesting option is to use your leave entitlements to take one day off per week for a defined period of time, e.g. 3 months. The time could be used to explore running your own business without the commitment of leaving your full-time job (yet!) or to take time away for mental health reasons and/or reduce burnout. Note that sick leave might present another option to explore in the event of mental health, however, it is best to seek individual advice on this.
Job SharingA job-sharing arrangement, if you can secure it, is a great way to hold a more senior or complex job while still maintaining a part-time schedule. You would generally be sharing a full-time job with another individual. This means you would both work part-time hours in the same job. Job sharing is really great as it does alleviate the pressure as a working mum. If your child is unwell, or if you are on holiday, your job share partner may be able to pick up more hours to cover the gap. You will also typically not get contacted on your days off – as there is another resource working in the role. Job-sharing is a really great arrangement, particularly for mums who value their careers and wish to continue their career progression. The main challenge is that it is rare, and it can be difficult to convince your employer to go down this path if they are not familiar with how to manage it.

Flexible working is a great tool to use to adjust your working arrangements to better suit your lifestyle as a working parent. Whatever you decide is best for you, it is important to understand that flexible working is an agreement between you and your employer, and it must work for both of you. Being open to adjusting the arrangement as your needs and your employer needs change, will help to guarantee the success of your flexible working arrangement, and hopefully aid you to have a long career in your profession while balancing work and family.

At HR Insider we provide tools to help women succeed in their careers. Northern Beaches Mums readers can receive 20% off on our website with the code NB20. For exclusive access to our latest posts for working mums, please follow us on Instagram @flexibleworkexpert or sign up for our newsletter.