"I appreciate that I was always supported by my superiors and my team never had any reservations. The reduction in workload has also never had an impact on development opportunities or the future course of my career."
What’s your role at KPMG?
I’ve been working at KPMG in the Audit Financial Services department in Zurich for over 10 years. I am a Swiss Certified Public Accountant and a Licensed Lead Auditor Banks. In my role as a Director, I manage financial and regulatory audits for banking clients. I am also involved in regulatory projects for non-audit clients.
What does your flexible working arrangement look like?
Because my wife and I wanted to combine family and career, it was important for us to find a flexible working arrangement that allowed both of us to continue our career paths without putting our two children (four and six) in daycare full-time. For the past five years, I have worked Monday through Thursday and spent Fridays with my children. My wife works 60% and spends Monday and Thursday with our kids.
How does your flexible working arrangement help you with your role as a father?
The part-time work allows me to spend one full day per week with my two sons, which was, in retrospect, very important for our relationship. I’ve seen them grow and develop through all their different phases and I have a lot of memories which I would have otherwise missed. On Fridays, we do a lot of activities around Lake Zurich, spend time in nature or go sledding in the winter (and, as of last year, skiing as well). Taking over one full day also helps my partner to continue her career, which requires her to maintain a certain minimum workload. Having Fridays off gives me a lot of energy to stay fully focused on client work from Monday to Thursday.
Are there any challenges you face in this working arrangement?
It is certainly not always easy to reconcile family and work, and at the moment there is not much time for hobbies, for example. From my experience, you can set up a lot with good organization, open and forward-looking communication with customers and good coordination within the team. I am very grateful that, thanks to the part-time work and the flexible working hours, I can continue to do my exciting and varied work in bank auditing and, at the same time, be there for my family and children during the week. Looking back, I would say that the reduction in workload has made me more efficient and I have learned to prioritize more.
Was there ever a critical moment when you had to prioritize family over work and how did your team support you in this specific moment?
There have always been critical situations when one of our children was ill on one of the days when we both work. Usually, we try to take turns in such situations so that each of us can work a half day. During the COVID period, we also frequently had to pick up our children from the daycare center at short notice due to symptoms of illness. This wasn't always easy, especially when you're in the middle of a meeting and need to get organized on short notice. Luckily, I have a great team that has always supported me, and my wife was often able to step in because she works near the daycare center.
What is your recipe for a good work-life balance?
I wish there was an easy-to-follow recipe. In my current situation, working part-time is definitely an important factor that contributes to my work-life balance. Having an open dialogue within the family and constantly revisiting the current setup certainly helps as well. And to some extent, it also requires self-discipline. On Fridays I don’t think about client work, deadlines and meetings, because I know I can 100% rely on my team. During the work week, I am fully focused on client work. It was important for my partner and me to find a model that works in our day-to-day lives and not just on paper – because for both of us, work is not just work, it is part of our lives.
What do you appreciate most about KPMG’s flex work model?
It was always clear to us that we didn't want our children to be in childcare more than two days a week. At the same time, we both wanted to continue our professional careers. When I reduced my workload to 80% five years ago, I didn't know myself how well it would work, since our bank examinations usually run year-round. Now I know it works! I appreciated all the more that I was always supported by my superiors and my team never had any reservations. The reduction in workload has also never had an impact on development opportunities or the future course of my career.