"When my son was born, I took five weeks of leave. I have now been working four days a week for nine months. My team has been very understanding, and we have also gotten positive feedback from the customers."
How many children do you have? And what's your role at KPMG?
I have an active 13-month-old son. At his daycare, they always say that he lets you know when he wants something. But he’s also fearless when it comes to the other kids, many of whom are older than him. My partner and I both work four days a week – she takes Fridays off and I take Wednesdays. He still requires a great deal of care at the moment, but the older he gets, the cooler that time with him becomes. Recently, I even pulled out my guitar again and restrung it as Sebastian really enjoys children’s songs.
I handle everything that has to do with regulatory projects – from financial market regulations to their procedures and data, that all falls in my area of responsibility.
What does your flexible working arrangement look like?
When Sebastian was born, I took five weeks of leave. I have now been working four days a week for nine months. My team has been very understanding, and we have also gotten positive feedback from the customers. I really appreciated the fact that no one made an issue of it at all when I made my request for a reduction to 80%.
In the context of your family arrangement how does a “normal” working day look like?
Sebastian usually wakes me up before six o’clock in the morning – I no longer need an alarm clock – and then I take care of him, get him ready and bring him to daycare. I get to the office between eight and nine o’clock. Around 5:00 pm, I leave the office, pick Sebastian up and we spend some time as a family before he has to go to bed. At the moment, he loves bath time with his rubber ducky and the little crab from the Disney movie Little Mermaid, who is also named Sebastian. Then I sit back down at the computer to work for another hour or two.
How does your flexible working arrangement help you with your role as father?
Daddy’s day breaks the routine. It gives me time that I otherwise wouldn’t have to nurture the relationship. Someday he will be an independent person, but until then I want to support him as well as I can. There’s nothing more valuable than spending time with someone you love, even just doing simple things like putting away the kitchen towels and Tupperware.
Are there any challenges you face in this working arrangement?
Sometimes you get a call on your day off and end up taking it with a baby on your lap. If that doesn’t work, you may need back-up. All things considered, the flexible working arrangement is a real benefit, but it can also turn out to be a challenge at times.
Was there ever a critical moment when you had to prioritize family over work and how did your team support you in this specific moment?
No, actually – so far, we haven’t ever felt confronted with anything that we weren’t able to prepare for. A lot of people have a family, so they have generally been very understanding.
What is your recipe for a well balanced work-life?
Focus and setting priorities: there are moments when circumstances don’t allow you to focus on anything but work. You can make up for long days with time off afterwards. You don’t have to try to always do everything at once.
What do you appreciate most about KPMGs flex work model?
Above all, I appreciate the fact that the opportunity exists at all and that the company has this mindset. This contributes enormously to job satisfaction.