Meet Katie: part-time farmer, part-time software developer

Katie works part-time so she can run a garlic farm in Canberra! It’s probably our favourite reason for working part-time so far.

She found her new role on Beam’s jobs board — working 3 days a week as a Software Developer/Business Analyst for Mullion Group (an awesome analytics company measuring carbon emissions). Mullion was able to unlock Katie’s expertise by offering the role as part-time — without this flexibility, they’d have missed out on hiring amazing hidden talent.

We asked Katie what part-time means to her and got her tips on making it work.

Can you tell us what’s awesome about your current role?

It’s a rapidly growing startup in a very worthy area (greenhouse gas emissions reporting) so I get to be proactive about how I can add value to the team and also feel good about the work I do.

Why is part-time work important for you?

I have many interests and want to have a full and diverse life. I have two children (and a crazy puppy!) and want to be there for them. I also run a garlic farm with my partner and want a balance between intellectual development work and the physical work of farming.

What has the impact of getting this part-time role been on your life?

My partner and I were already part-time with our other software tender which we won. However, further funding for that has been put on hold and this job gives us some guaranteed income without taking over our already busy lives.

Do you have any tips for other part-time professionals about how to get the most from working part-time?

  • I keep a timesheet showing what tasks I have done so I remember each week when I am back in the office what I need to do next and can keep work progressing (it also proves how productive I am).
  • I also make sure I check my email and respond to it regularly so I am generally contactable even when not in the office. I stay flexible so that I am willing to come in on non-work days — on the understanding that this reduces my hourly debt the following week.
  • Flexibility and effective, constant communication are all important.

Has your employer made any changes to facilitate part-time work that have been helpful?

My employer is wonderful! They gave me a computer on day two and most of their systems are web-based, so I can work anywhere.

Also, most people are working part-time or remotely, so the part-time culture exists for most. I have an obligation to attend at least 3 stand-ups a week which I am happy to meet as it also keeps me in touch with what the team are doing.

Are there any suggestions you’d make for employers about how to make part-time work really well — both for employees and the organisation as a whole?

  • Enable remote access to your IT systems so there are no technological barriers and provide a dedicated work laptop.
  • Ensure all work is shared and accessible by all so anyone can see what their team members are working on and collaborate easily.
  • Treat all employees as equals (don’t use phrases like “you’re only part-time”) and don’t assume people are having “time off” when not in the office as they are often very busy with equally valuable work, such as raising families or running other businesses or creative endeavours.

Part-time work builds strong communities.

Katie, we couldn’t agree more!! Check out Katie’s farm, The Department of Broccoli.