According to a recent study by the Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights, 1 in 10 mothers with under-fours quit their jobs due to childcare pressures. This certainly rang true in my experience. Having three young children and a husband who works away most of the week, I had myself pretty much put my own graphic design career as an employee behind me, opting instead with going after the odd freelance job that I could work on any time of day or night to fit around busy family life.

Agency life as I remembered it (pre-covid and pre-children) was an extremely tough gig. I had experienced a few unpleasant situations in my career so far, with many unpaid, exhausting all-nighters, difficult team dynamics and unrealistic deadlines. When I started out in the industry it was considered to be just part of the job, and with a family to support thrown into the mix, it would have been near impossible. The study suggests that less than a third of working mothers with children under the age of four have the flexibility of working arrangements they need, so it’s no wonder a lot of my friends gave up their jobs to bring up their children, or did a complete career U-turn altogether.

Whilst being fortunate enough to be offered regular freelance work, I had always felt slightly short changed that I wasn’t properly part of a team, especially during events like the Christmas party or general work nights out. I expect lots of freelancers would agree that it’s a lonely old gig working for yourself. It was during a brief conversation with the Creative Directors about Home’s recruitment plans whilst freelancing with them that I started to consider how I might return to work as an employee now that my youngest was approaching school age. The team was one of the most flexible and most creative that I had ever worked with and their client list and portfolio was extremely impressive.

One of the hugely beneficial outcomes of the pandemic from my perspective, is the progress made with regards flexible working. Finally it was viewed in a positive light by both employers and employees and a lot of the team at Home were working part-time from home. I decided to bite the bullet and stick my hat in the ring while the company were on a recruitment drive to see where it would lead.

If I’m completely honest, I was expecting to be offered a part time, flexible working contract at best, but what happened next was a complete game changer. Home went above and beyond (as they always seem to do!) with the holy grail of employment contracts if you’re a working parent – part time, term time only. Opportunities like these are almost unheard of outside of the education sector, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t become mainstream in other sectors as well. One small change to the ‘norm’ could have a huge impact on recruiting and retaining the right team.

I’ve been a permanent member of the team since April 2023 and am genuinely loving every second. I am absolutely certain that it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career so far and long may it last – I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity. Honey, I’m most definitely Home!