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The University of Southampton
Parents and Carers NetworkInspiring stories

Elina's story

 I work as a post-doctoral Research Fellow, four 6-hour days a week.

I work two days from 6am, and two days from 1:30pm. I chose these hours as they give me a reasonable amount of time with my 3 year old son while continuing my career in science. These hours also currently provide a sensible childcare costs vs household income balance. With respect to work, my project requires equipment, which is heavily used during standard hours (9-5). Because I start early or finish late, it means the equipment is used to its full capacity during the hours that are least likely to interrupt my colleagues’ work. My suggestion of this working pattern was welcomed by my supervisors particularly for this reason. I find this work pattern very efficient as I do not need to take lunch breaks and in 6 hours I usually complete a full-time days-worth of work. Initially, I worked early hours during all four days of my week, but changed to two mornings and two afternoons recently as it gives me more opportunities to interact with colleagues and attend meetings and seminars.

I would encourage parents and carers to enquire about changing their work schedule according to their needs. Even more so, I would strongly encourage senior colleagues, supervisors and managers to be open-minded and accepting towards and even encourage part-time work, job share or flexible hours/non-standard patterns within their teams, as it can greatly enhance motivation, efficiency and morale within their team.

Elina Zotova
September 2013

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