Balancing a Career in Science Recruitment and Home Schooling

The world of recruitment has been hit quite dramatically by the economic implications of the Covid-19 crisis, with organisations rethinking their growth strategies and either putting recruitment on hold or cancelling it altogether. However, it is not just from a work perspective that those working in recruitment are facing challenges and having to adapt to new and varied ways of working.

Joanne Fairbrother, a Key Account Manager with CK Group, has been juggling her everyday role – managing the recruitment requirements of global pharmaceutical organisations – whilst at the same time ensuring that her son’s educational needs continue to be met. This is a new role that Joanne has undertaken, and an interesting one.

Here is what Joanne had to say about adapting both her working hours and practices.

“Dividing my time between being an employee and a teacher has not been easy. Maybe if you have a child in secondary school who is self-motivated and needs limited assistance, the balancing would be easier. However, having a child in primary school who needs regular encouragement, direction and supervision means it is almost impossible to work at the same time.

I’m incredibly lucky to have an understanding, flexible employer that has allowed me to adjust my working hours to fit around my son’s home school time. Working early mornings or evenings, longer or shorter days, has given me the ability to focus on my son and give him the help he needs without the distraction of phone calls and emails.

One of the difficulties of not working a traditional nine to five day means that clients are often not working at the same times that I am, or vice versa. However, I work with a great team who are able to pick things up in my absence and my clients have been very understanding about my sometimes limited availability, with many of them being in the same situation that I am.

I think the hardest thing about trying to teach and work is the guilt: feeling guilty for not being 100% focused on work and feeling guilty for not being 100% focused on my child (although I think any working parent can related to this, even in normal times). No matter how much I have tweaked my hours, there are still occasions where I am needed for work related matters and this can take my attention away from school work.

My advice to anyone else experiencing the same challenges as me of trying to carry on working whilst home schooling would be to accept that you can’t do it all. You will be distracted so I strongly suggest, wherever possible, making arrangements with your employer to temporarily adjust your working hours. It certainly makes things a little easier to balance.

Hopefully, schools will be able to go back to normal by September, taking the pressure off of working parents to be superhuman. In the meantime, I hope that employers have realised that supporting working parents with flexibility means that staff can be more productive and more focused. From speaking to a lot of people it seems that one of the positives to come from this situation is that home working can be very successful and not detrimental to a person or a team’s productivity levels with today’s technology. It can also help to reduce employee stress from combining commuting with school runs.

From this experience, and having a child who is less than an enthusiastic about doing school work, I have gained a new found respect for teachers’ patience!”

Read about our continued recruitment support being offered for Covid-19 projects

Or, find out more about return to work plans in the Life Science sector

Joanne Fairbrother from CK Group
Author: Joanne Fairbrother

(Education photo created by freepik –

young boy being home schooled during lockdown