Case study: Teresa Costigan.

Teresa Costigan

Teresa Costigan works three days a week for IT consultancy Quorum Network Resources leading their enterprise business.

Teresa, 46, lives in Edinburgh with her husband, Simon, who works fulltime as a software engineer for Microsoft in Seattle, and their three children ages eleven, nine and six.

Teresa has been promoted to director level during her 4.5 years with the company and has demonstrated how successful part-time working can be.

She said: "I'd previously worked in sales, predominantly directing large accounts for Microsoft. But I'd taken five years off to raise my children and was not actively seeking work.

"Someone asked me about returning to work at a party and I felt obliged to say I intended to look for work soon. The same colleague asked if I'd go for coffee with one of the founders at Quorum who was looking for someone to run their enterprise business.

"I knew I had a good reputation in my pre-children career and that my name would still be reasonably well-known. But like anyone returning to work after a period of being off I had some doubts. I was now a mother of three and that meant things would be different.

"I remember asking my husband if he thought we could tolerate me going back to work as a family. He was travelling a lot more then, so it was more about whether we could find appropriate childcare and whether he could help.

"I met with Quorum and really liked their culture. We talked about flexible working and agreed I'd do three days a week. It was a risk on their side as it's not the usual business model for this kind of role.

"But their trust really empowered me. It's up to me to figure out my time. I will always honour client commitments and sometimes I work an extra day to accommodate that.

"Where I can, I schedule meetings for my regular days. But I'm able to work from home too. I've got direct access to all our systems, I'm on my mobile. I've got the right software, I can conference call. It doesn't matter where I am.

"The company is full of people who are very likeminded. They're committed to doing a good job and we are flexible about how, when or where exactly people do their work.

"If you hire the right people who want to do the job, everything else follows. You don't need to prescribe to them how they should work.

"Simon is able to work flexibly too, which really helps. Because of the time difference between us and America it often suits him to start work very early at 5am then take a break around 9am when he takes the children to school.

"I know other people who work part-time and find it strange that I take work calls on my 'off' days. But it works for me.

"I didn't expect a great deal from my part-time career. So it's been very satisfying to have found a company and a set of clients I really love working with. I'm helping build a great company and I still get to enjoy bringing up my children."