They say that being a parent is a full-time job, but what happens when the lines between your actual full-time job and being a parent become blurred?

After the COVID-19 Pandemic hit UK shores, the Ardent team transitioned from offices to working in any secluded space they could find at home; even if it was just the dining room table. For those members of the team who are parents, life became very strange as home schooling was introduced, and debating with the kids became the most important negotiation of the day. What was once two distinct parts of life had now become interlinked, each one encroaching on the other, so how did some of the parents at Ardent juggle these two full time jobs and adapt to what was now part of the new normal?

To mark and celebrate Global Parents Day, we asked a few ‘Ardent Parents’ to share some insight into how they managed to tackle parenting whilst working from home.

Kate Ramscar“Once Covid hit in 2020 it was a real period of learning which for a HR professional was probably one the biggest challenges to face in terms of quickly thinking on our feet, interpreting new and changing legal advice, adapting to the needs of Ardent and being able to guide Ardent and employees through this tricky, uncertain and ever changing situation. This was a double challenge for me working in HR, with Ardent looking to HR for guidance on how to handle the evolving day to day challenges and uncertainty whilst being a parent myself.

From a parents points of view I had all the same worries and concerns as all other parents and my priority was my daughters welfare, mentally and physically, whilst adapting and finding ways round dealing with the endless periods at home (with no real home schooling in place), and then to a very structured home schooling approach; both of which presented various different challenges!.  It was time to focus on what was really important, our children and our people. With people being at the core of our business that is exactly what Ardent did. Whether employees had children or not, Ardent focussed on people and provided flexibility which throughout the children being at home was invaluable. Home-schooling was not easy, however, it provided me with an opportunity to see how my daughter interacts in a school environment, how she learns, what she likes (and dislikes!), and we did many different forms of PE from bike riding, to roller booting, paddling pool to skating rinks in the field through the various different seasons!

It was a very challenging but special time that in many ways I wanted to embrace it, but it was difficult balancing the parental guilt with needing to work.  Clearly I still had my job to do but Ardent were respectful of that, and I was respectful of them so somehow we muddled through. Children have become a part of working life and now make regular Teams appearances which I think is great as it also helps their learning and understanding for how things can progress from school; so for me there is a very real link. Reflecting back it was a huge period of much needed change which whilst enforced was definitely needed. Ardent have made some real changes to the extent we have recently introduced a Smart (Hybrid) Working Policy to allow on-going flexibility for our people as needed and we are constantly introducing new ideas and initiatives.”

Peter Gibbard“The transition to home working was thankfully a painless experience for me and the IT miraculously seemed to understand that it was not the time to let me down! That said, having a 4 and 2 year old at home delivered the main curveball. With both my wife and I working full time, two children needing entertainment at home and no access to isolating grandparent support, we were both forced to adapt to the new flexible way of working. Yes it led to some interesting interruptions on Teams calls and some interesting noises in the background, but with the majority of the working world in the same boat, it was accepted as the norm. For me the added time with my children at either end of the day with no commute, was a much valued product of the change in work/life balance.”

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