"I work four days a week and I have Fridays off. It’s great that I can work and also be more involved in my children’s lives."
How many children do you have and what’s your role at KPMG?
We have two children – Claire is seven and Johann is four. I work in the Global Mobility Services (GMS) team. My immediate team and I are responsible for small- to medium-sized clients and their global mobility programs.
What does your flexible working arrangement look like?
I work four days a week and I have Fridays off. My partner also works and studies four days a week. She works on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Fridays and Saturdays she goes to university. I take care of our children on Fridays and Saturdays as well as on Monday and Tuesday mornings. Before work, I help them get ready for the day – I help them get dressed, make them breakfast and a snack, and I take Johann to daycare. We eat dinner together in the evenings whenever possible.
How does your flexible working arrangement help you with your role as father?
This working arrangement started when my wife went back to school to study art. I’ve been working four days a week since October 2021, and we have agreed on this arrangement for the duration of her studies (twelve months). We’re not sure what will happen at the end of these twelve months. However, currently, the clear advantage is that I get to spend Fridays with my children. We go to swimming lessons together, and that frees up our time on Saturdays to go on small excursions together or to do something with my sister. My goal is to get to know more about my children and their lives. That’s why I also encourage them to invite their friends over for lunch – their favorite is macaroni casserole with a side of passion fruit – and I try to experience fatherhood more consciously while at the same time also meeting new people in the neighbourhood.
Are there any challenges you face in this working arrangement?
It can sometimes be difficult because, on the one hand, I have my work life where I want to meet the expectations of both my clients and my team, but on the other hand, I also want to live up to my responsibility towards my family. It’s a trade-off: everyone wants to have it all, but sometimes we need to prioritize certain things. My top priorities are definitely my family and my work, so I don’t have a lot of time left over for hobbies.
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?
When daycare centers closed during lockdown, that was certainly a challenge and an endurance test for many families. Before that, there was a clear separation between work life and home life. But now these boundaries are much blurrier, which comes with more freedom but also more responsibility.
What is your recipe for a well-balanced work-life?
I wish I had one. It’s about constantly working on your plan. Any time something changes, you have to revise the plan. This requires constant communication and coordination within our family, but also with my team at work. My team covers Fridays for me and understands my situation. Without my colleagues, this flexible working arrangement wouldn’t be possible.
What do you appreciate most about KPMGs flex work model?
It’s great that I can work and also be more involved in my children’s lives. This current situation is a temporary phase in my life, and KPMG’s flexible working model allows me to pay more attention to my family during this time. I also appreciate the flexibility that allows me to come into work at 8:30 am. KPMG has offered me an enormous amount of autonomy and placed a great deal of trust in me. But it’s a give and take: it also means that I might have to work late sometimes in order to get everything done.