12 September 2023

Getting Flexibility in the Workplace: Juggling Parenthood with Your Career Goals

Paul Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


I think it’s important to start by saying that Red Tiger Talent is a great advocate of flexible working. A positive workplace culture is crucial for growth and success, and our culture and ethos surrounds providing our employees with enough support and flexibility so that they have the platform to do their work to the best of their abilities. This in my mind always comes down to trust, which works both ways.

For young parents, or those planning to start a family, it is something to think about in the workplace in terms of what modes of flexibility would suit you when the little one(s) arrive(s). Often parents don’t really plan a lot of this and will do what my wife and I did which was to meet any problems as they arise.

However, introducing parenthood alongside your own job and pre-existing workload, something that before children likely took up the majority of your time, can be very challenging to balance. Often people will feel an increase in stress and anxiety around how to manage this exciting new chapter in their life with their career.

These goals and drive to work may naturally shift as you become a new mother or father, as undoubtedly your priorities have changed. This is where workplace flexibility is vital in not only easing the challenges of these changing needs, but any uncertainties around coming back into the working world after p/maternity leave.

Having more flexibility with your job will make the transition into working parenthood smoother; this blog post explores the key areas young parents-to-be can investigate so that you have the essential areas covered with your employer before you have, or plan to have, children.


Thinking about flexibility in your commute, I think of the example of someone who, prior to having children, spends 1+ hours commuting per day. Some people do manage this when children arrive, but I really do not see how you can practically sustain such a time commuting to and from work each day when you have children. This is especially challenging when your children reach the age of school runs, after-school clubs, sports teams, and other activities that may need you to be there for them when you might otherwise be on a long commute.

COVID has certainly changed perception of home-working so where this is allowed, it can help to release the burden of juggling of duties in the morning and evening.

Core Hours

How flexible can your core hours be? What is practically possible if you need a bit of extra time to drop your children off? My wife and I have been through this with our children and the youngest 2 are now 13 and 16 so they are probably 80% self-sufficient. As I work from home, they do feel like I can drop everything to give them a lift somewhere – which to be honest depending on what I must drop I often do. This is something to think about in terms of logistics as eventually there will be many years of nursery and school runs.

Aside from shifting core hours, there may also be flexibility to become a part-time employee or have a phased return to work. This is definitely something worth discussing with your employer so that you don’t feel any pressure to jump immediately back into your original workload.

Managing People

We know a few companies that do not allow managers of people to become part time. I am sure there are valid reasons for this in many ways and obviously different companies have different cultures which is very telling across all these areas.

My view is that if you feel it is possible for someone to manage people even though they are on a part time basis they should be empowered to do this. I can see this as a problem in some isolated cases, but I don’t personally believe it should be a company-wide policy to restrict part-time workers from managing people.

Workplace Flexibility

This is linked to all these areas but generally, how flexible is the company’s culture? If you need to drop everything one morning or a whole day what will your employer be like – do they support this? I know a lot of companies that do support these situations; obviously they won’t lose sight of company objectives and such, but do have a think about or investigate what a company’s policy is in the areas of flexibility. If there is no policy, find out what has happened in the past to accommodate young families.

Childcare Vouchers

I remember having these at BT and it made a huge difference to nursery costs, and I also had a way of paying nursery costs pre-tax. It is worth looking into what is available to help with those impending childcare costs as it really can save you £100’s a month.

In conclusion, I do understand that companies need to be careful when it comes to setting precedent and cannot be endlessly flexible. However there is a lot to be said about ensuring your employees and supported through this new chapter in their life.

My view is a happy workforce is a loyal and effective workforce – with the right people they will naturally appreciate it if you show flexibility. Companies can only gain from this in the long term as people will ultimately become more productive and they will be able to retain staff for a lot longer.

Workplace flexibility is out there and available for you during this journey into parenthood, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone throughout these challenges.

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Published by Paul Halsall

Paul is an experienced head hunter, data and insight specialist, trainer and coach. His experience lies in Location Planning and Mapping but more recently within Business Management, working internationally on a variety of accounts.


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