Forging ahead with flexibility
Katie Bickerstaffe talks about her own part-time role as a CEO, how Dixons Carphone approaches flexible working, and what it means to be a judge of the Timewise Power 50 awards.
In 2012 I was honoured to be named on the very first Power Part Time list. I was somewhat surprised because I didn’t think my story was particularly unusual or interesting. As I got to know the team at Timewise better, and looked into the challenges more broadly, I realised that many people believe that asking for more flexible roles means the end to any real career prospects.
Many very talented, bright and high-performing individuals feel unable to request some flexibility for fear of being seen to lack commitment. I have been very fortunate - Dixons Carphone has allowed me to work part-time and spend time with my beautiful children on a Friday as well as continuing in a complex and challenging role.
I’ve met some fantastic ‘Power Part Timers’ whilst being a judge over the last few years and their stories inspire me. Many businesses are now starting to realise that flexibility, job sharing and smart working are really the way forward… Especially as younger people join our businesses and expect this option from the off. Part-time and flexibility isn’t just for women wanting more family time: we are seeing many women who wish to give time to charity or develop another skill outside their day job. We have men and women caring for elderly or ill relatives, we have men who have chosen to work part-time to stay at home with their kids.
This is most definitely a movement and we want to be at the front of it, forging a path for others to follow. Dixons Carphone are also proud to have signed up to the Timewise Retail Pioneer programme. We want to make sure that our new starters and our colleagues know that career opportunity is open to them and, where we are able to, we will try to be as flexible as we can to support them.
I’ve found working with the Power Part Time team at Timewise really inspiring… With each small step we can make enormous change for the future and that is something to get excited about. I’m very much looking forward to reading the entries for this year’s new Timewise Power 50 awards, and championing a new roll-call of flexible stars.
CEO, Dixons at Dixons Carphone, UK&I