Lifting The Lid On How We Do #WorkThatWorks
When we started Happity, it was a core part of our mission to also create rewarding but flexible work that works around family life. While pursuing our aim of making those early days of parenthood easier, we’ve set out to make this project happen by working around our own children in a way that fits without sacrifices — either for our families or for ourselves. Because while being a mum might be the most important job of our lives, we’re also more than mums!
It’s now been 4 months since we launched as a public beta, so we thought it was time to introduce you to the members of Team Happity who are making it happen, and shine a light on exactly how ‘work that works’ actually works. We firmly believe there are ways to work around family that make sense for businesses and it’s up to us to prove it. Also, because we know how nice it is to have a good old nosy into other people’s day-to-day… #findyourhappity
Rachel’s Story, Data Manager at Happity
Rachel is married with a daughter, nine, and a son, five. A couple of years ago they moved from East London to Kent
I have worked in technology for years, and spent the last 10 years at a well-known high-profile charity, where I worked as a technology programme manager. It was a great place to work, but after having children I worked part-time and slowly found myself stuck in a career rut. I felt a bit directionless and looked for a new job, but discovered that opportunities to continue working part-time in an interesting job were just not there.
‘Opportunities to continue working part-time in an interesting job were just not there’
Once I had moved out of London, the excruciating cost of buying peak-hour day-return tickets to London for the three days I worked, plus the cost of childcare, made me question why I continued with the slog to my desk. It felt that the time was right for me to reassess my options. It was scary taking the leap and not knowing where I would end up, plus the financial uncertainty was daunting, but I had faith it was the right decision.
Before I had kids… I spent what I wanted on myself, I went on amazing holidays, festivals, parties – my career was flourishing! My husband and I spent a year travelling the world. We were having a lot of fun, and so we didn’t really think about kids till we were into our 30s. It was a huge shock!
I started working for Happity… in April, 2017. Having had almost a year off to do some decorating, make some new friends and settle my kids into their new school (my son was starting reception), I was starting to think about work again. I was really keen to work for a start-up, and also keen to work as flexibly as possible. I also wanted to use my existing skills but learn some new ones along the way. I saw Sara’s ad on Twitter and this led to the most refreshingly honest interview I have ever had.
‘I saw Sara’s ad on Twitter and this led to the most refreshingly honest interview I have ever had’
I wake up at… 6.45am, when my very kind husband brings me a cup of tea. My daughter gets herself ready for school, but my son still needs help with his buttons and his teeth! I’m very much a jeans-and-trainers girl, so getting myself ready is quick. I make breakfast (porridge, Cheerios, toast) and packed lunches and then drive to school. I’ll have a quick trade at the school gates — gossip, money, books, clothes, forms, etc, before heading home.
My typical day involves… At the moment, if I have time, I will nip to the gym on the way back from school for a quick run on the treadmill. Then I will go home and work. I check messages and alerts for anything urgent, then my main focus is getting data onto the website. I really enjoy being involved in designing the company processes around the various systems we use to create an efficient workflow. I have recently been setting up a CRM (customer relationship management system) and am looking at integrations with our other data sources.
As we are in really early stages, and a very small team, things chop and change quickly as we experiment, and that is part of the fun of it! Since starting, I have tried different work patterns to see what is the most effective. It’s amazing to have that flexibility! I usually finish around 2.30pm to prepare for the kids getting home and for the chaos to begin. I may do a few hours in the evening too.
‘I have tried different work patterns to see what is the most effective. It’s amazing to have that flexibility!’
Why I love Happity… I truly believe that this is as viable and productive an approach to work as any traditional 9–5 office-based model, however the benefits are so much greater. There is a huge pool of talented women who would love to work flexibly but cannot find the right roles. The world of work is slowly changing and technology has been a great enabler. I love that Happity is part of making this change and I am proud to be part of it. Plus, we are getting amazing feedback from our customers, and that makes it feel even more worthwhile!
‘There is a huge pool of talented women who would love to work flexibly but cannot find the right roles’
The biggest challenges of combining work with motherhood are… As my kids get older, I am conscious of being a role model. My daughter is now closer to being a teenager than a toddler and I am trying to instil in both my kids a strong sense of self-worth, but I also believe in trying to make the world a better place and want them to share these values. I aim to be open and honest with them, so dealing with the squillions of questions truthfully but tactfully requires some effort. As a massive advocate of technology, I am also aware of the impact on social interactions and try to stay one step ahead. Trying to switch off and be present in the moment with your kids when your mind is whirring is challenging!
One thing that makes my life easier… I love order and tidiness, but don’t often achieve it. When I do, it makes me happy, and I love my cleaner for this! Lists and diaries keep me sane, and recognising when to take time out when it all gets too much is something I have learnt to do.
‘Recognising when to take time out when it all gets too much is something I have learnt to do’
As a family we… love going for a long walk (with a pub on the way), camping with friends in the summer, having big gatherings with friends or family or pottering around at home with music on, food cooking and kids fully engrossed in whatever they are doing. We also love a car boot sale, flea market, junk shop or anywhere where you can pick up some interesting piece of treasure! Despite the desire for tidiness, I am also a hoarder.
What keeps me sane… Yoga, running and going to the gym help. I love a night out, dancing, listening to music, going for a walk, gardening and sinking a few glasses of wine now and again, too!
My guilty pleasure… I love whizzing through a boxset on Netflix (just finished Breaking Bad, so late to the party). And did I mention wine? I don’t have time to read as many books as I’d like, but I’ve a huge thirst for information and love researching stuff or trawling through articles. My new house is a work in progress, so I could also spend hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration and I love an interiors mag.
How I make it work… I have worked as a project manager for years and therefore am good at planning, so I get organised in advance. If there is a lot to remember, I write a list, or if there is a little project (such as our home-made wedding a few years ago) then I love a Kanban board! My husband is great at splitting chores and I am also lucky enough to have in-laws quite nearby who have helped out massively over the years.
Happity is a web platform making it easy to find local baby and toddler classes. Built by a team of mums, for parents everywhere. We love hearing from interesting people who’d like to work with us. Get in touch on [email protected]. Looking for a flexible role? Sign up to our jobs list.