https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2018/06/13/making-the-hours-count-not-counting-the-hours/

Making the hours count, not counting the hours

Shadow figures of two parents and a child holding hands
Image by Pixabay

I’ve been a content designer for about two years. I started just after my daughter was born. It’s taken some close supervision, support, and some pretty intense onboarding, but we’re both getting used to our roles.

We’re taking small steps because getting used to new things takes time.

As a parent, time is your greatest resource. It becomes a commodity that can buy you anything you want: much-needed sleep, some space to catch up on work, and most importantly time to spend with your partner (preferably when no one’s screaming or covered in vomit).

While my partner was off for a year, I got just two weeks paternity leave. That covered the birth, being in hospital, coming out, going back in, night feeds, tears, poo, and almost no sleep. The nights were long, but those weeks flew by. Before I knew it, I was back in the office.

When you’re on the way into work, parched eyes thirsty for sleep and every coherent thought lapsing into the Peppa Pig theme tune, the idea that someone could magically give you more time feels outlandish.

But that’s exactly what my team did.

Making more time

The content team have always believed in flexible working. Why wouldn’t we? Everything we do is about having the biggest impact in the most concise form possible.

So I asked to compress my working hours. This glorious alchemy squeezes five working days into four, with a totally free day popping out at the end.

But how do you make it work?

Compressed hours

Well, being a dad is a bit like being a snooker player. A bit of showmanship on top of a lot of meticulous planning to anticipate and avoid trouble.

This applies to flexible working too. By knowing what I need to do and when, and planning a few shots ahead, I can make sure nothing’s missed.

In the office, I can give my undivided attention to the job at hand. But come Thursday, rather than being huddled on a platform waiting for the 7.07 to Liverpool Street, I’m on the sofa with my daughter getting ready for baby ballet.

My non-working day has coincided with my daughter’s first steps, her first birthday, and first trip to the zoo.

I couldn’t calculate the monetary value of being there for these moments. Becoming a parent makes you evaluate what’s really important. Compressing my hours means I can make sure my time at home and at work is well spent.

Read more about the work of the content team

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