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Adaptalift Group’s head of HR on creating a flexible role to meet work and home demands

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
Adaptalift Group’s head of HR on creating a flexible role to meet work and home demands

Kate Newey is the head of human resources at Adaptalift Group and a working parent. She spoke to The HR Leader about the challenges of balancing career and parenthood.

Commenting on a lack of senior part-time or flexible roles, Ms Newey said: “I think the challenge [starts with] getting these roles in the first place. You don't often see senior leadership roles that are part time. So, for me, it was a conversation between my CEO and I (I'm a longstanding employee, I've got a great relationship with the business), and we made it work.”

Ms Newey talked about her outlook on being a part-time worker: “ I think when you work part-time, you've really got to change your mindset. So, it's not necessarily that I work part-time, I just juggle my work, schedule my work differently, and a lot of that is around enabling your team, and really making sure that you're not the roadblock, and it's not getting caught in a funnel of things needing approval, and this and that. Which there is absolutely a time and place for things that need approval by your senior leader, but absolutely enabling my team to be able to action things and make decisions and think for themselves as well.”


"It's okay to [say], I work flexibly and I do work at night, so if you get my email at night please don't respond, it's just how I'm working, how I structure my work at the moment, and reducing some of that taboo with actually working in that way,” added Ms Newey.

Having a support network makes balancing career and parenthood easier. Anu Villarosa previously spoke to The HR Leader, emphasising the importance of asking for support.

“I've got a very supportive partner. He supports me in my work. I surround myself with people that can help with the children, but also helping my work, and I set some really clear boundaries in terms of my time and how I'm spending my time, and put my efforts where I think I'm going to create the most value for the organisation I'm working for and for my family as well,” outlined Ms Villarosa.

Ms Newey recognised the challenges work/parenthood juggling can bring: “I’ve heard this quote before where you’re expected to parent like you don’t work, and work like you don’t parent… that real internal battle of mum guilt and career guilt all mixed into one.”

“I’ll be trying to get ready to go and [saying to] my four-year-old, ‘come on, we’ve got to go to day care.’ [And she’ll say] ‘Mummy, just a minute, I'm in a meeting,’ and she'll be sitting at my computer, tapping away some emails on her keyboard,” said Ms Newey.
“As cute as that sounds, part of me is thinking, oh my gosh, the parent guilt of her takeaway is, mummy's always so busy, but then on the flip side it's that incredible proud moment thinking, well, I'm modelling for my daughter that mummy works.”

Ms Newey added: “There's just not enough senior leaders working part time, or they're doing it and we don't hear about it, so hopefully by me talking about it, I'm making it more common.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation with Kate Newey is below.


Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.