Different phases of life come with different needs. In order to facilitate work, family and private life, we offer our employees various part-time options — from classic part-time, usually starting at 20 hours, to temporary interim part-time. Consequently, we offer many of our job opportunities also on a part-time basis.
Ferdinand joined SupplyOn in the summer of 2019. After an extended corporate career, he switched to us as Product Manager Invoicing, a completely new field for him.
The first steps towards part-time
Ferdinand, when did you start working part-time and was there a specific trigger for your request?
I looked into the possibility intensively in the fall of 2021 and started working part-time in January 2022.
There were basically two factors that triggered my request: One was a long-standing desire to get more out of my life. Secondly, I wanted to spend more time with my family while my children are young.
How did SupplyOn react to your part-time request in fall 2021?
At first, I had some concerns about what the consequences might be. So I was cautious at first, since I didn’t know any part-time fathers at SupplyOn yet. In retrospect, my concerns were totally groundless. Both management and HR supported my wish right from the start and implemented all the necessary steps quickly and straightforwardly.
Part-time work routine
What does your typical workday look like?
My role as Product Manager has not changed much. I primarily work at the interface between product strategy, consulting and sales. However, the scope of topics and responsibilities have of course been adapted to the reduced working hours.
It is still my job to reconcile the requirements from the various channels and to plan these into product development together with the product owners. In the second step, the actual development progress must be monitored and, if necessary, reprioritized at a later stage. Last but not least, I am responsible for the budget tracking of all these developments. The bottom line is that I am as involved and visible internally and externally as I was before.
Candidly speaking… how has your workload changed?
Indeed, the workload aspect is most important. I have reduced my hours to 80% and now work four days a week instead of five. Of course, I initially wondered: Will it really stay that way?
That’s why my tip to everyone who is considering going part-time: get an honest picture of all your actual tasks. Then decide just as honestly which issues in your area of responsibility need to be dealt with and how they can be reassigned or reprioritized, if necessary, with no extra strain on others in the team.
These thoughts and ideas were the basis for the discussion with my manager. And it was the only way I could figure out how best to structure the topics for myself, so that in the end it really worked for SupplyOn and me.
How is your team dealing with this?
From my point of view, there are no changes at all. I think my colleagues hardly notice that I’m working 20% less. For me, I feel just as closely connected to my team as I was in full-time. It’s a great fit!
The pros and cons of working part-time
Are there any trade-offs you have to accept?
It was my deliberate decision to go part-time. Of course, I earn correspondingly less with it. But above all, it requires good time management. That’s why I’ve started to keep a closer eye on my hours and learned to be more disciplined. Otherwise, I see the danger of undermining my own concept and that “just finish something quickly” will turn into 100% in the end.
Of course, there are hot phases every now and then when it gets more. I also don’t work part-time by the clock. The great thing about it is that we have flexible working hours at SupplyOn, which make it possible to quickly get back into a regular work routine. If things get too much for me on a permanent basis, I know that my manager is always there to help reassess and prioritize tasks together.
If you could decide to work part-time again, would you do so? For what reasons?
Definitely yes. I only have one life and I am aware of what is really important in life and deserves time. My new time management has given me more freedom and I can use it intensively for things that are important to me besides work. These include my family, of course, but also hobbies and things that have fallen by the wayside. By the way, this also clears up my weekend.
What has changed positively for you since you started working part-time?
It was the best decision I could have made. My work-life balance feels much more balanced now. My life has become more fulfilling. Working and living time is something precious, and that’s how I wanted to treat it.
One final thing: do you plan to increase your working hours once the three years are up?
At the moment, I have an agreement for exactly these three years, i.e. interim part-time. At the end of these three years, my children will be 7 and 10 years old. Then I can re-evaluate the situation. [laughs]
Thank you very much, Ferdinand, for taking the time to give us an insight into your everyday life!