Jeroen Siemerink, Lead Developer at Icologiq, about work and parenting: “To me, it speaks for itself that raising kids should be a joint effort”
It is becoming more and more common: two parents, both with their own careers, who also share the care for their children. However, even in 2021, it is still far from self-evident in the workplace that fathers work part-time to spend more time with their children. In that respect, Icologiq was ahead of its time: most women as well as men in the Icologiq team have one day off a week.
A couple years ago, Lead Developer Jeroen Siemerink was the first male employee on the team to make the decision to work part-time. Since then, Jeroen has been working four days a week, with a day off on Wednesdays to spend time with his three sons, between the ages of four and eight. His wife, a Research Technician at the department of Developmental Bioengineering (DBE) of the University of Twente, works three days a week. This way, together they combine their work with their family.
Hey Jeroen, why have you made the decision to work part-time?
“In the first place, I decided I want to be around my children as well. I think it’s important to be a part of their upbringing and to watch them grow up like this. I don’t want to be just the guy in the commercial who comes home on Sundays to ‘cut the meat’. I want the kids to view me as their father and not someone who happens to live here too.”
How do you combine parenting with your job?
“My wife and I have agreed to divide our time between our job and parenthood. We looked at which days are useful for one of us to be at home and what works best for both of our jobs. I don’t feel like I’m missing a lot of information at work that one day of the week that I’m not there, because the next day, my colleagues share their updates with me about anything that’s new – usually during our daily talk at the coffee machine. Ofcourse, it’s different now that we’re working from home, it now takes place during our daily’s. Since we’re used to people working work part-time at Icologiq, we know when our colleagues are working and when they aren’t. In addition, my colleagues know they can always reach me for urgent matters, even on my day off – any situation that needs to be dealt with immediately.”
What’s it like working from home with kids during the Coronacrisis?
“Working during the lockdown, when the children couldn’t go to school or daycare, was tough. My wife and I had to divide our time between the kids and our work, with one of us being with the kids during the day and making up for work in the evening. Now I find working from home a bit easier: I work in an enclosed space, so when the children are at home, I can concentrate well. And they know: when the door is closed, daddy is at work. They usually leave me alone when that’s the case, but if they don’t, I just send them back to my wife.”
What was it like being the first man in the team to work part-time?
“It comes with a certain threshold to be the first person in the company to make this choice, but this hasn’t stopped me. I have never experienced it as a burden, I don’t really see it as something special at all. To me, it speaks for itself that raising kids is a shared effort. You have children together, so it is a joint responsibility to ensure that there is always someone there for the children. Besides the fact that I personally find my bond with the children important, I also don’t think it makes sense at all for a woman to have completed an education and then stay at home to take care of the children.”
About Icologiq Elements
All-in-one software platform Icologiq Elements facilitates process innovation from a central point in the organisation. Its goal is to provide organisations with the right tools to solve problems, deal with complaints, implement improvements, implement change in a structured and safe way, measure risks, and ensure that people can work safely everywhere in the organisation.
The software enables companies to get the best out of their people and teams. By automating routine tasks, employees can focus entirely on their main tasks. In addition, the fragmentation of local solutions and spreadsheets is converted into a reliable, transparent platform with which companies cover all their processes related to safety, quality, welfare and the environment.