FEATURE26 June 2019

Walnut Unlimited MD on working flexibly: ‘Part-time does not mean less committed’

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Whether it’s agencies establishing four-day weeks or maternity leave promotions, flexible working is coming of age. Jane Rudling writes about her experience of running a business part-time.


As the managing director of Walnut Unlimited and a partner in the Unlimited Group, I have a challenging and fulfilling job. It sometimes surprises people that I work part-time, and have done for more than 20 years – but this may be the norm in the workplace of the future.

When I joined the company (or rather its predecessor) in 1993, I worked full-time, as we all did. My first child was born 21 years ago, at which point I started working part-time, three days a week. It wasn’t the norm then, and I felt some pressure to justify myself and my working arrangements.

As part of negotiating my reduced hours, I agreed to a cut in my full-time equivalent salary. That’s not something we would ask someone to do now, but it shows there was some initial scepticism as to whether it could work. We agreed to an initial three-month trial and it was up to me to demonstrate that I could be effective three days ...