‘I hired my wife so we could both work flexibly’

Scott Norville came up with a novel way to solve a problem when he realised his family needed better work life balance.

hiring your spouse flexible working


“Being a parent and running a successful family business is somewhat of a juggle, to say the least. Working a typical 9-5 day doesn’t tie in with nursery and pre-school drop offs and offspring very rarely get the memo about big work meetings or end-of-month sales targets.

But the two must go hand-in-hand for me because the fact is, I am both a father and a company founder and managing director. My two biggest roles in life are my two greatest achievements. Having a family business is just that. Run by your family, for your family, and anyone you employ becomes part of your family – it’s a culture that’s grown over the years.

I feel lucky to have the relationships both in my personal and professional life to be able to run a business and raise two children simultaneously.

I am proud to be able to have the flexibility in my work to be able to attend the nursery nativity and be the face at the gates at pick up time. I am also proud to offer that option to my team, who may also have family commitments and children who need to see a face in the crowd.

It hasn’t always been this way. Before having children, my mindset was to employ new team members with set hours, and no negotiations with this. But now, being a father, I fully understand the pressures involved and now I have two new members of the team which start after school drop-offs and finish in time to collect their kids. This works extremely well for us, as I find productivity is high with less breaks. This is something I would have never considered before.

For me, work doesn’t stop, the business still needs to be run and the luxury of staying at home and watching the latest film on Netflix takes a backseat. Most nights I will return back to the office, after ‘bath, books and bed’, when my sons are fast asleep. I will pick up where I left off, completing the teams’ sales reports, planning for the following day and doing social media videos for LinkedIn to promote the business, while adding content to my podcast. It’s relentless but needs to be done.

Some months ago, my accountant told me she will be retiring early next year, so I needed to replace her. At the time, my wife Sophie was working full-time and traveling a lot up and down the country. The increase in costs of nursery fees and Sophie wanting to spend more time with the boys made us consider the idea of her working at Silverstone Leasing in accounts on a part-time basis. It just seemed the right choice. The children are little for such a short time and she doesn’t want to miss such important milestones and occasions in their little lives.

The decision has been a good one for all of us. The company accounts are now much more easily accessible and interpretable and being looked after by someone I trust implicitly. My wife is employed with a flexible employer and our family is happy.

I think family businesses have a greater sense of inclusion and loyalty than others as it isn’t just about the needs of the business but about the needs of the person too. Everyone has a vested interest in the company doing well and staying strong.

My wife and I have always been a formidable team, and now we extend this outside of our home at work.

But with all of this, running a business comes with its own stresses and strains. The industry we’re in as been hit by many factors – Brexit, Covid, semi-conductor shortages, car delays and now the cost-of-living crisis – it feels relentless. I do sometimes find it’s very hard to switch from business owner to Dad and vice a versa and it takes many days to fully decompress when we go away.

So now, with my wife at the company’s purse strings, it’s a great feeling that we can continue to grow as a company and hopefully in time, my sons will join the family business too.”

Read more:

Why Zurich UK are leading on enhanced paternity leave

Government to introduce day one flexible working

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