We’re hopeful that either this Australian startup will come to the United States or someone will do something very similar. School Hours is a new startup, based in Australia that helps Australian parents find flexible jobs. Sure not every person that uses SchoolHours will have kids, but all of those using it will require some kind of flexibility.
After checking out SchoolHours even further you begin to realize that people taking night or even day classes can utilize the platform. People with second jobs can utilize the platform. Even those people that have a hobby they pursue at a set schedule can utilize SchoolHours to find the best jobs with flexibility in mind.
It’s no secret that more and more job seekers are taking culture into consideration when looking for those jobs, and of course flexibility in hours can play a big role in that.
SchoolHours is packed with a variety of jobs and a variety of schedules.
We got a chance to interview the founders of SchoolHours. Check out the interview below.
What is Schoolhours?
School Hours is a website that advertises family friendly job opportunities. It’s like a niche version of seek.com.au or mycareer.com.au except every job we list will have an element of flexibility attached to it. It could be full time with flexible start or finish times, compressed hours such as 4 day weeks or 9 day fortnights, telecommuting opportunities, job sharing roles along with part time, casual and seasonal positions which are commonly a favourite of working parents.
In layman’s terms, how does it work?
Again we haven’t reinvented the wheel here. An employer, recruitment or employment agency uploads a position with an element of flexibility to the website to be advertised. We’ve got some innovations in the pipeline which will be unique to www.schoolhours.com.au, but for the moment our focus is on launching the job board functionality into the website so we can start helping out parents seeking better work life balance for themselves and their families.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Myself and my wife Yasmin are the co-founders of School Hours. We’ve both been involved in sales and marketing for our entire working lives with the majority spent dealing with the education sector. When we were both made redundant from senior management roles within the audio visual industry in June 2011, it seemed like a sign to us to do our own thing, which we’d always planned on doing since we got together nearly 15 years ago and so we decided to make our School Hours idea a reality for all Australian parents.
Where are you based?
We’re headquartered in Brisbane, but will be advertising jobs from all parts of Australia when the job board component of the website comes online.
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
Initially we based ourselves out of our home and had little contact with the outside world, particularly in the first 6 months. Since then we’ve restructured the business a little and rent a small space in a shared office near home and we’re getting some exposure to other businesses via that. We share the office with a reasonably well established medical equipment importer and an IT consultant and their staff are generally quite buoyant about where their businesses are heading. I’ve also attended a few presentations at River City Labs in Fortitude Valley, which is a lot more start-up than the guys I share with and that facility has an awesome vibe to it. Everyone is a startup and I do like getting in their to soak it up as often as I can. We’re considering a move to something more along those lines once we’ve got the job board up and running.
How did you come up with the idea for Schoolhours?
Once my wife and I had kids, our approach to work and life changed. While money, the feeling of importance and the satisfaction of doing a job well were still very important to us, we felt our kids weren’t getting enough “mum and dad” time. While our employer (yes we worked for the same employer) was flexible, it wasn’t quite to the level we wanted it to be. When the opportunity for redundancies came about, we both jumped at it thinking what we would look at working for ourselves as we’d been sitting on the School Hours idea for 6 months already. We knew that a startup wouldn’t have us working less, but our time would be our own and there’d be no guilt associated with flex-ing off to go to a sports carnival or book week parade or one of the many other things our kids seem to be involved in.
How did you come up with the name?
Yasmin and I worked for a company that shared a role between two mums and the term “school hours” was often spoken about when they chatted to others about the great flexibility they had in their roles. When we came up with the business idea, we talked a lot about the concept and the strong passion we both have to really make a difference to the life balance challenges that most working parents face. We considered the many flexible options available to parents when trying to balance family and work and we felt that the ‘perfect’ solution for most would be to work around School Hours and the name stuck.
What problem does Schoolhours solve?
Finding flexible jobs via a traditional job board is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. School Hours aims to simplify that by listing only jobs with an element of flexibility from employers that understand the reciprocal benefits of providing flexibility in the workplace. School Hours also hopes to address the problem of finding and retaining good quality employees for employers. Knowing the vast majority of School Hours’ registered users will be parents, gives an employer the peace of mind that the applicants from this job board will be hard working, conscientious and loyal.
What’s your secret sauce?
School Hours is being set up by parents trying to spend more time with their kids for parents trying to spend more time with their kids. We truly believe that when kids can access a parent more often, we as a society will see a reduction in issues such as teenage pregnancy, underage drinking and drug use, youth suicide and general juvenile delinquency. The simple act of sitting down to dinner together 5 or more times each week has been credited with everything from reducing instances of eating disorders in adolescent girls to promoting language development.
Ask most parents and they’ll tell you they struggle to balance their parenting needs with their basic need to earn a living and School Hours aims to address this by providing positions from employers that understand the benefits that come with providing flexibility to its workforce, in one place. There’s no longer any need to waste time going to interviews where the employer doesn’t understand the benefit available to themselves for providing a flexible arrangement to a parent.
What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?
You’re everything to your business and this can be terribly overwhelming some days. With limited funds, you don’t have the arsenal of resources at your beckoned call as you may have had in your life as an employee. You can spend an awful lot of time running around trying to find answers, so it’s helpful to remember what’s key to your success and consider shunning all that doesn’t fall into that category.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
I wouldn’t say we’ve overcome any significant challenges, at least none that most other startups would encounter anyway, but where we have overcome anything significant, we’ve learnt from it and hope to use that learning to our benefit. We found for a lot of the first 6 months, we learnt and learnt and learnt some more. While you can’t bank learning, we hope that initial investment of time will ultimately save us one day.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
Our main business mentor is a gentleman by the name of Graham Evans. He’s currently the general manager of AMX Australia and New Zealand, a leading home and business audio visual and automation manufacturer. Graham has been instrumental in both mine and Yasmin’s development over the years and he continues to support us in this new chapter of our lives. He’s a regular on our advisory board and a terrific source of inspiration and sound advice.
Regarding business role models, both of us are long time students of the late, great, Dr Stephen Covey. He, along with Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and George Clason are regulars on our reading lists with some of their most famous titles being re-read at a rate of once a year. While we love following the trials and tribulations of modern business geniuses like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, etc, the learning from some of these older volumes form the foundations of many newer titles and are timeless. They are as relevant today as they were when they were written decades ago.
What’s next for Schoolhours?
We will be adding the full job board capability to the website within the next 2 months and have an associated sales and marketing campaign compliment that launch. Beyond that, we simply aim to get lots of flexible jobs listed and then applied for and filled by applicants from the School Hours database, all the while raising the profile of providing flexible working conditions for employees.