Words by Angela Brennan
MUM-of-two Della Hudson is calling for small businesses to offer flexible working hours to help mothers get back to work.
The chartered accountant, who runs Hudson Accountants, set up her own firm because she was unable to find a company which would offer flexitime.
Today her business has quadrupled and is manned by a team of four – and she is keen to promote flexible working hours.
Della, 46, said: “I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home-mum, but there were no jobs which offered the flexibility needed to spend time with my children and have a fulfilling career.
“I often see mothers at the school gates that are unable to work in their chosen fields because they cannot carry out 9 to 5 jobs and flexible working hours simply aren’t available.
“I think this is such a shame and companies are missing out on great talent. I think it would be in the interest of all parties if small to middle sized companies offered adjustable hours.”
Last year, workers were given the ‘right to ask’ for flexible hours. But few positions are actively advertised as flexible.
Della offers flexible and remote working, where practical.
She said: “I try to offer flexible working hours to my team, whether they are mothers or not. I think it helps bring in a high calibre of staff and I believe the adaptability is reciprocated
“I trust my team to get the work done away from the office. I know from their output that they’re hard-working.”
Della and her family had been based in Paris for four years until 2008. They came home after her husband’s contract with an international engineering firm came to an end.
In France, Della had managed charity accounts for the local church, sold English books and acted as a Sunday school teacher and English tutor.
But despite having worked for multi-million pound organisations and having 20 years’ experience behind her, she struggled to find suitable work when she returned to the UK.
So she decided to set up her own firm six years ago with little more than a computer on her kitchen table.
She juggled bringing up two young children with developing and refreshing business skills, while attracting new clients.
Della said: “I started slowly and would fit work in when I could, particularly if I couldn’t get child care. I also walked the high street to drop off mailshots to every business in the area.”
But she found a boost in confidence is sometimes needed when returning to the workplace.
She said: “You can get a bit rusty after a long maternity break, for example. I found refresher courses were helpful. But sometimes it’s just about having the confidence to take action.
“I used to deliberate for ages before making a business decision. But now I have the confidence to grow and trust my forecasts, so I just get on with making changes.
“It still surprises me that what should have been a second income has in fact become a career in itself. I’ve been able to grow, create jobs and give back to the community.”
Della offers free Money Matters seminars throughout the year – where entrepreneurs can get business advice and ideas on how to grow their business.
For more information on Money Matters, visit http://www.hudsonaccountants.com/money-matters