Does part-time equal smarter working?

I’m all for supporting anything that promotes how flexible work can beneficial for  businesses as well as employees.  So I loved hearing about Powowow now launching another initiative promoting flexible working.

I have been working “flexi” or “part” or “compressed” time for the best part of seven years.  I have constantly been called “lucky”, even as recently as this week.  I count myself as very lucky, but wonder if anyone has ever said to previous bosses/clients how “lucky” they are to have a part-time worker.  Anecdotally a previous manager told me how great it was that I completed full-time objectives on part-time pay.  I think it was what we used to call a “disguised” compliment.

However, it seemed odd to me that the #smarterworkinitiative was launched in the first week of the school holidays.    I love my job and I love the flexibility it offers.  I hope that I also offer my clients more experience for less cost as its over fewer hours.  But I am very much in the minority.  I can only think of a handful of other friends and colleagues in a similar situation and these cases have inevitably come around through either networking or working for themselves.

The school holidays are such an odd time for a part-timer.  In some ways we have more time as the day is longer than school-hours.  However  usually our kids are going through some kind of patch-work quilt of holiday activities, clubs, relatives, friends and that panacea that is the over-priced family summer holiday!  Sometimes it can be tricky to maintain focus and not feel the holiday relax mode spreading through the whole house-hold.

Its week 1 of the school holidays and this week has gone well, I’ve managed to work a few extra hours and even get some family chores done but I must admit that even being part-time and “flexible” I do prefer the routine of the school term when I can clearly switch between business and childcare focus at the same time each day.

So here is my #Flexie from earlier in the week, catching up on social media from the car before picking up and heading to the paddling pool – keeping it all in perspective after all its the #smarterworkinitiative after all isn’t it!?



Award winning, sounds good doesn’t it?

Buckinghamshire Business Awards 2016

Thinking back to January, one month into the job and it was time to complete an award application for my  new client.  What a quick way to “on-board”!  It meant spending time with the team understanding more about the business and poring over strategy presentations.

At my last job, I was with the company over ten years so it was a steep learning curve to get my head around new industry, new products and a new approach generally.

So, these are my top tips:

Do your research

Understand why the award is important, what does the company hope to demonstrate to its customers, suppliers and indeed staff? Spend time looking  at the resources that have been provided, the awards organisers want you to be successful so there is usually a handy toolkit.  Have a look at previous winners and see how they approached it.  Most importantly be sure you have a clear understanding of your product and service.  Think about how can you portray this in a simple manner and make your business seem worthy of passing to the next level.

Demonstrate that you meet the judging criteria

When you submit your application keep checking back to ensure that you have met the criteria for each category.  It’s a bit like an exam question – whilst the judges may love to hear about your amazing business in minute detail, if you only have 200 characters to do it in, or need to demonstrate innovation be sure to have shown your passion for your business within these parameters.

Be prepared

Use your application as an excuse to go back to basics and check that the business plan you wrote makes sense and is easy to communicate.  By entering the award you are opening yourself up to scrutiny about sales figures, investment and what values you have as a business.  Entering an award can also be a great way to recognise changes that may have taken place in the business over the course of a few years and validate a new approach both for you and your staff.

It doesn’t all stop when you submit your application

When your team are ready to proceed with the award submission, remember, it doesn’t stop there – especially if you are lucky enough to be selected as a finalist…or better still a winner!   Enjoy the visits from judges, this is a fantastic opportunity to bring to life your business “story” and show off your business.  Use all the things which are different about your business and that perhaps are more visual or emotive and let these stories come to life.

Award winning really does sound good, especially after one or two glasses of bubbly!