Working part-time allows me to better meet the needs of my daughters
May 17, 2022
May 17, 2022
Gunjan Mehta is a manager in our public service team working across a range of government projects. She also works part-time to better balance the needs of her two daughters. Find out how she makes part-time work a success and why this flexibility is better for her family.
I have two daughters, Riya and Alisha, who are 13 and 8 years old. When the girls were younger, I worked full-time, but once they were both at school, I quickly realised that full-time work was no longer going to be the best fit for my family. In particular, when my second daughter started school, going to after school care wasn’t working out well for her and she was having some health challenges. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but we don’t have family support here, so after some discussion about what was best for the girls, we decided to reduce my hours.
My original shift to part-time work was at a previous employer, and I have continued this through other organisations. When I started my second innings with Accenture (I actually started my career at Accenture as a graduate in 2006) in December 2019 when APIS was acquired I got nothing but support. At the time, I was working part-time at a government department as a Business Analyst supporting their BAU system.
Since the acquisition, I have worked on a couple of different projects and as a result moved between several government agencies. Throughout these engagements I have taken on a variety of roles both client facing and delivery related while working part-time. I currently do six-hours a day, Monday to Friday, so that I can be present with the team each day, while still picking my daughters up at the end of the school day.
Giving my girls a happy, healthy life
Like most girls their age, my daughters want to do lots of different activities. Currently they’re really into ten pin bowling and mini golf! Making time to get to extra-curricular activities like sports and music, not to mention playing at friends’ houses, can be hard to manage as a working family if you don’t have a lot of support networks around you. Working part-time gives me the flexibility to spend more time with them, pick them up after school and get them to all the places they need to be.
I have found Accenture to be incredibly supportive of my part-time work arrangements. I find myself surrounded by clients, co-workers and leadership who are all willing to embrace a part-time work culture. Support from my team leaders and peers plays a key role in making part time work arrangements a success. I’ve now worked at several employers in a part-time capacity and I think being clear on what you need and what you can offer really helps. I always set expectations upfront, especially when I move to new projects, and I’m yet to find a single soul who’s said this doesn’t work for us.
Prioritisation is essential
Solid time management and prioritisation skills are key to making part-time work for me. Every day, I assess my tasks and the needs of the project team to make sure timeframes are being met and I am not a bottleneck in any way. I also set expectations with those I work with, by being transparent and listing my availability in my signature and having time blocked out in the calendar.
It’s also important for me to be clear with myself about what I can get done in a shorter day. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I’m working shorter hours than my colleagues and can’t get as much done. I’ve had to train myself to be ok with not always getting everything done and protect my own boundaries about the hours that I’m working.
Having said that, there are some exceptions to the rule and instances where I have worked additional hours to say, work on a bid or complete AWS cloud certification to fulfill my professional aspirations. This however was completely my decision as I felt accountable for my work and continuing to grow my skills. The way I see it, it is all part of the truly flex arrangement which allows me to be flexible while being accountable for my tasks/deliverables. Like any other role at Accenture, sometimes there is the need to jump back online later and finish the time critical tasks that just must get done!
Based on my experience which has been positive, I would encourage all of those who are interested in working part-time to have the discussion and see what’s possible. People are supportive, so ask for what you need and figure out an approach that works for your family.
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