There’s no doubt about it; being a working parent presents all sorts of challenges, not least trying to balance a career with all of the responsibilities that come with parenthood.
This juggling act demands a degree of flexibility in your work schedules, effectively pushing you to look for parent-friendly jobs.
Fortunately, there’s a growing recognition among employers of the importance of offering flexible working hours for parents – after all, they stand to lose a significant (and talented) proportion of their workforce in not doing so.
The concept of a ‘traditional’ 9–5 workday is rapidly becoming outdated, giving way to a less rigid approach that takes into account the diverse needs and lifestyles of today’s workforce – parents very much included. Employers have started to realise that offering flexible work arrangements can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and a more inclusive work culture.
This comprehensive guide will be packed full of tips for working parents. We’ll fully explore the world of 9–3 jobs, a work schedule perfectly suited to the hours of most primary and secondary schools. We’ll cover the benefits of such roles for parents, the types of flexible jobs available and which industries they can be found in, tips for finding them, time management, and how the working landscape is transforming and adapting to the way we think about work and family life.
What are 9–3 jobs?
It might seem obvious, but…
A 9–3 job refers to a specific type of arrangement where your working hours run from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. This schedule usually fits in with the hours of most primary and secondary schools, allowing parents to work and earn, but still be able to drop off their children in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. These flexible working hours for parents promote a healthier work-life balance, reduce commute times, and allow parents to be actively involved in their children’s after-school activities, as well as having the time to plan and prepare a family meal for the evening. It’s a practical solution for those seeking to find the ideal balance between their professional and family lives.
What types of jobs are available during these hours?
It might surprise you to know that your options aren’t as limited as you might think when it comes to finding 9–3 jobs to fit your schedule, as a busy parent.
There are a number of roles, across different sectors, that you could take on:
Teaching and education: For obvious reasons, jobs in the education sector align well with a 9–3 schedule. These roles include teaching positions, administrative roles, and support staff jobs (such as being a teaching assistant) within primary and secondary schools.
Healthcare: The healthcare sector offers various positions that can be adapted to fit a 9–3 working day. Nurses, medical administrators, receptionists, and support staff in hospitals and clinics often have shift options available to them that fit these hours.
Retail: While it’s not true of all roles in this sector, some retail positions, particularly in smaller stores, offer part-time positions with flexible schedules. These roles are suitable for individuals looking for customer-facing jobs, perhaps as customer or sales assistants.
Customer Service Representative: Call centres have sprung up across the UK, both for traditional businesses (insurance companies, banks, broadband providers, and so on) and to cope with the rise in e-commerce platforms. This has led to a growth in the number of customer service roles available, and many of them offer flexible hours, including 9–3 shifts
Pharmacist: Some pharmacies employ pharmacists on part-time schedules, allowing them to dispense medication and provide patient consultations during the day, leaving their afternoons free to take on parental responsibilities.
Freelancing and consulting: Many freelance or consulting roles allow for flexibility, by letting you pick and choose the hours you work. This option is ideal for professionals with skills in areas such as writing, design, marketing, IT, finance, or human resources, with many companies now opting to outsource to consultants.
Remote work: With the rise of remote work, positions can be adapted to fit a 9–3 schedule, from the comfort of your own home. This flexibility not only accommodates the needs of working parents but also opens up a world of possibilities across various industries.
The benefits of flexible 9–3 jobs for parents
So many plus points
The 9–3 job schedule holds numerous advantages in helping to meet the challenges of working parents, offering the ideal solution for balancing career ambitions with family responsibilities, and giving you that bit of breathing space you need.
1. Reduced commute time: Working within these hours can also help parents skip stressful rush hour traffic, significantly reducing their commute times. In turn, this allows for more quality time with family and less time spent stuck in traffic, contributing to a healthier work-life balance.
2. Balancing a career with parenthood: A 9–3 job enables parents to maintain fulfilling careers while also still being present for their children’s school events, extracurricular activities, and important milestones. This helps to avoid the guilt that often comes with the delicate task of trying to juggle work and family life.
3. A healthier work-life balance: It makes sense that a 9–3 job helps in providing a healthier work-life balance. Parents can manage their professional responsibilities while ensuring that work doesn’t overshadow their personal lives. This positively affects their overall wellbeing and family dynamics.
4. The ability to respond to emergencies: Parents can respond more readily to unexpected family emergencies or appointments, if they have more flexible hours, with the ability to get to a doctor’s surgery, dentist, or attend an issue at school, if need be.
5. Positive role modeling: By managing work and family life successfully, parents can set a positive example for their children, teaching them the value of hard work and responsibility, while still showing that it’s possible to have the time to care and look after your loved ones.
6. Professional growth: 9–3 jobs are not just restricted to part-time or low-paying roles. Many industries and employers offer well-compensated, skilled positions with flexible hours, allowing parents to advance their careers while prioritising their family commitments.
Finding the right 9–3 job
For working parents, finding the right 9–3 job can be tricky at first, but ultimately rewarding, as it allows you to live the life that’s right for you and your family; earning money while still being there for those important moments in your children’s lives.
Here are a few handy hints and tips on how to land those roles:
Network: Use your professional network to your advantage, and connect with former colleagues who might know of suitable opportunities, or with employers who you know offer flexible work arrangements and respect the commitments of working parents.
It pays to use professional online networks, like LinkedIn, which are free of charge – highlighting that you’re ‘open to work’.
Use jobs platforms: Make use of job search platforms that allow you to filter job listings by part-time or flexible hours. One option it’s definitely worth considering is signing up to the Indeed Flex app, for instant access to temporary jobs across a number of roles in different sectors. The app allows you to set your preferences, including the hours during which you’re available to work.
Tailor your CV and cover letter: Change your CV and cover letter to ensure it mentions your interest in part-time or flexible work, and why that’s the case. Highlight relevant skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate for each position.
Contact recruitment agencies: A number of recruitment agencies specialise in placing candidates in flexible jobs. Do a bit of research, find out which agencies offer these arrangements, and get in touch with them. They’ll help you to find the right 9–3 job that fits both your career goals and family needs.
Join online parenting groups: Many online parenting communities and forums, such as Mumsnet, have job sections or members who share job opportunities that have family-friendly hours. Consider joining local parenting groups on social media platforms, for help and advice.
Open up a discussion: During job interviews or negotiations, openly discuss your preference for a 9–3 schedule. You’ll be surprised how many employers are open to considering this. Make sure you emphasise how your preferred hours allow you to meet your potential employer’s needs while highlighting the benefits of flexible work for both parties, and the importance of family life to you – this will generally show you in a positive light.
Many larger organisations now have diversity and inclusion programmes that support working parents, so the odds are stacked in your favour.
How to flourish in a flexible 9–3 job
Once you’ve landed that all-important flexible 9–3 job that caters for your needs as a working parent, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your new life – both work and family – runs smoothly.
Prioritise tasks: Each day, identify your essential tasks at work and at home. At home, there may be domestic chores to get done, like putting the washing on, changing the bed sheets, or putting the rubbish bins out. At work, you may have a list of jobs to get done, on a to-do list, which you can steadily work through.
Prioritise these tasks to ensure you focus on what’s most important and manage your time effectively.
Set boundaries: Communicate your work hours and boundaries with your employer, colleagues, family members, and friends. Let them know when you’re available and when you’re at work and would rather not be disturbed
Use technology: Use tools like calendars and task management apps to keep track of both your work and family commitments. Sync these tools across your devices to stay organised.
Avoid multitasking: While it’s tempting to multitask, avoid it where possible. Focus on work during work hours and dedicate quality time to your family when you’re off the clock.
Try not to let the two things get muddled and have one creep into the other.
Plan meals in advance: Plan and prepare meals in advance, to save time during the working week. This gives you more time to spend with your family and less time chopping, prepping, roasting etc.
Consider batch cooking to simplify meal preparation. You can always freeze any excess food to eat later in the week.
Maintain a support system: Seek support from friends, family members, or support groups for working parents. Sharing experiences, advice, and tips can really help you to balance working and family life.
Finally, and most importantly… make time for family: Make sure you set aside quality time for your family when your workday ends. After all, that’s the whole point behind having a flexible work schedule as a parent. Engage in activities, conversations, and ‘us time’ to strengthen family bonds.
Flexible working arrangements for parents: making it work
Ultimately, taking on a 9–3 job should allow you, as a parent, to strike the balance between your career and your role as a parent and caregiver. Roles such as these cater to working parents with desirable skill sets in the workplace, but also allow for a better work-life integration.
This shift towards flexible work arrangements shows that the modern workplace is willing to adapt and recognise that employees have diverse needs and lifestyles which need to be accommodated if key talent is not to be lost from the world of employment.
For working parents, 9–3 jobs offer a practical solution to that which would otherwise present a big challenge. The alignment with school hours, reduced commute times, and the promotion of a healthier work-life balance make these roles an appealing choice, and there are a whole host of them available within these hours, across various industries. By exploring the diverse range of opportunities available, networking, and staying informed about flexible work opportunities, individuals can thrive both professionally and as loving, present parents. The era of balancing work and family life effectively is here, and 9–3 jobs are helping parents make the most of it.
If you’re a busy working parent, Indeed Flex has a number of different temporary and flexible roles available with hours that suit your needs perfectly.
Download the Indeed Flex app today and benefit from a world of temporary work opportunities across all different industries and employers.
Are 9-3 jobs available in all industries?
9-3 jobs are not restricted to specific industries. Various sectors offer roles with flexible working hours, including teaching, healthcare, retail, customer service, pharmacy, freelancing, consulting, and remote work. The key is to explore opportunities that align with your skills and preferences.
What is the best job for a working mother?
The best job for a working mother depends on individual preferences and skills. However, roles with 9-3 schedules, such as teaching, healthcare, or customer service, can be suitable. Freelancing and consulting also provide flexibility. Ultimately, the best job is one that aligns with the mother’s career goals and accommodates family responsibilities.