Zurich UK was the first company in the UK to advertise all vacancies with the option of part-time, full-time, job share or flexible working.
Chris Stirling is a Technology Consultant for Zurich UK based in Glasgow. He lives with wife Kerry, son Oliver seven and daughter Abigail who is three.
Chris joined Zurich in 2013 on full-time basis though reduced his hours in August 2020. The decision was triggered by the pandemic and challenges he and Kerry faced with childcare. Both decided to drop a day and between them, they share school and nursery drops and each have a day at home with Abigail. On Chris’ working days he flexes his hours so that he can also take Oliver to school.
As well as splitting the childcare, his flexible working hours also mean he has time to keep his graphic design skills sharp and use them to support local charities and his church. During lockdown, he supported his church with producing online services.
“My working pattern means I get the best of both worlds, the variety of work but also quality time with my kids,” says Chris. “I feel incredibly fortunate as I was also able to benefit from fully paid paternity leave with Abigail. This time, combined with holiday, means I’ve played a really big part in their earlier lives. I’ve been there for first steps and nativities and speaking to other dads, my experience is the exception rather than the norm.”
Chris took three months paternity leave when Abigail was born. She arrived nearly a month early as Kerry had pre-eclampsia and was hospitalised eight months into her pregnancy.
He says, “The time off meant I could look after them both but also spend valuable time with Oliver – enjoying lots of the things I couldn’t do when he was born – play dates, soft play and so on.”
Zurich has also become the first insurer to sign up to Roleshare, a service which matches applicants searching for part time and job share roles with employers.
Steve Collinson, Chief HR Officer at Zurich UK, says, “The pandemic accelerated demand for flexible working. As advocates of flexible working for over a decade, we are proud of the success of this initiative and pleased to see that the positive trends are all heading in the right direction.”