Stacey Quilton took a two-year career break when she had children. Ready to return to the workforce, there were scant interesting, part-time roles around that would benefit from her experience, challenge her professionally, and still allow her to spend time with her kids. That is until she spied a simple pink logo which flipped the way she thought about her future.
WORK180 is where all her dreams came true, and five months into her role as People & Culture Business Partner, she says,
“It seemed too good to be true! But WORK180 practice what they preach. I think this is the first place I’ve worked where the values are actually lived, promoted, and celebrated on a daily basis by the whole team.”
Two under two and two years off
Stacey took seven months off from her role as Head of People and Culture (P&C) for a hospitality business after she had her first child. After her parental leave, they offered limited flexibility and wanted her back full-time, so Stacey resigned after six months.
Job hunting and parenting a small human, Stacey discovered she was expecting her second child. Not wanting to hide her pregnancy, she thought it was unlikely she’d find a great role given her circumstances and settled in for a career break.
“I definitely didn’t plan to take the two years off work but am really glad I did! Given the fact my daughter was still only one, I decided to embrace a career break and then had my second child, a little boy, in 2020.
“Life then got very hectic. And work was a distant blur for a while. I was grateful to have the time with the kids, but being a mom is also one of the hardest roles I’ve ever had, and it was a shock at how completely consuming it is.
“I really wanted to strike a better balance for me and my partner, who also wanted to have a more active role at home. I was conscious I didn’t want to be out of the workforce for too long so that my skills would still be relevant, so when my youngest turned one I started looking. I was worried about how the gap in my CV would be perceived and how much information to share about the age of my kids. I knew full well that some employers can pass judgment on your commitment and availability for roles. My confidence definitely took a hit despite having over 15 years experience as both an Operations Manager and Head of P&C.”
Struggling to find part-time work
After two years off work, Stacey was ready to go back.
“When I wasn’t working, I treasured the time with the kids but I also got tired and frustrated carrying the domestic load. My partner and I were usually 50/50 on all things at home but the balance shifted with me not working and neither of us enjoyed that aspect. I was definitely ready to come back to work after a two-year break. It is an important part of my identity.”
But the options were few and far between.
Stacey was looking on the open market, but the recruiters who’d previously tried to headhunt her said the role she wanted didn’t exist part-time. Nor could they offer any advice about how it might be possible with her experience. She started applying through online platforms, and it was all pretty discouraging.
“As there were so few part-time positions advertised, I did apply for a few full-time roles in the hope I could negotiate some flexibility. I wanted to be transparent and explain I’d had a career break to care for my young family in my cover letter, but I didn’t hear anything back.”
“It was really disheartening given my experience and highlighted to me the barriers faced by so many other women the world over. I got to the point where I thought I may have to go back full-time despite not wanting to, just to be able to continue my career.”
Stacey did manage to get some freelance work as an HR consultant, where she could utilize her skills and work flexibly, but without the security that comes with employment. Not willing to give up on her dream, she kept searching, and that’s when she found WORK180 – the place where part-time dreams go to flourish!
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WORK180, where dreams come true
Joining as the People and Culture Business Partner, Stacey knew she’d made the right decision to join from day one.
“I had a great experience through the interview process, meeting my line manager, colleagues, and the CEOs. Everyone was so open and transparent. Everything I’d been looking for in terms of doing something with purpose and having flexibility was enabled.”
Now, her (work) days are spent looking after talent attraction and retention, onboarding new starters, developing the learning and development strategy for the team, and advising the leadership team on all things HR.
On her non-work days – which she has thanks to the flexibility WORK180 offers all its employees – she’s mainly keeping her one and three years old entertained.
“We live a short walk from the beach, which is amazing to have on our doorstep. We love bike rides, park trips, camping, and seeing family. When I get a chance, I try to squeeze in some yoga.”
Stacey works the equivalent hours of three days but split over four. It allows her to share full caring responsibilities with her partner (who also works reduced hours) and tag team with the kids.
Stacey loves the culture of trust and empowerment and can see the boundless opportunities ahead of her in a growing organization.
“The company trusts its employees to deliver based on outcomes and there is a great culture because of that. The environment is really transparent, and people are available when you need them.”
An added benefit is that WORK180 is fully remote. Stacey lives in Perth but works with colleagues around the country. She’s also excited to have the opportunity to work from her original home, the UK, where she can visit and spend time with her family while still continuing to contribute at work.
When mission and culture align to change the world
We could talk all day about how inclusive, supportive, and empowering the culture at WORK180 is (after all, we work here too), but for Stacey, the alignment of the mission is also hugely positive.
“I have always been a big advocate for women and those underrepresented in the workplace. One of the reasons I became a regional business manager years ago was the fact women were underrepresented in those roles. I’ve always enjoyed helping people reach their full potential, and to do that we need to create the working environments that allow people to thrive.”
And WORK180 truly does allow people to thrive, through their regular shoutouts, recognition, and celebration of effort and impact. Stacey appreciates that we’re collectively making a big impact across the globe.
“I love the fact that WORK180 works with well-known clients across Australia, the UK, and the US influencing policies and benefits that will make a difference to so many lives. We’re shaping the way the working world can look in the future and it’s inspiring”
Should you join WORK180?
“We have a really diverse team in terms of their experience and knowledge which brings a great perspective to conversation and decisions.”
And to anyone considering joining, she says,
“WORK180 is a great place to bring your whole self to work. You can be yourself, manage your time to suit your lifestyle, be super productive working remotely, and make a real difference.”