Parents of Payara: Head of People Julia Millidge

What’s life like as a parent at Payara?

Due to our flexible remote-working policy, there is a lot that is appealing about combining parenthood with Payara. When your commute is non-existent, it’s easier to be there for those precious moments. However, when your work and home life are blended, there are challenges!

We are talking to Payaran parents about the mix of family life and a career at a fast-paced scale-up business in our ‘Parents of Payara’ series. See interviews from other parents Dominika and Simon here! Hopefully you can find some inspiration, or even just a bit of recognition for experiences shared…

Today we speak to Julia Millidge, Head of People and, alongside our CEO Steve Millidge, co-founder of Payara Services.

Although your children are grown up and fled the nest, how did you find trying to juggle work and parenting?

Having the ability to work flexibly and part time while the children were young was great. As the business has grown this has become even easier. Even though I am a founder of Payara I still aim to work within the same parameters as the rest of my colleagues and being a parent I understand the challenges that they face and therefore try to make sure our People policies support and enable better parenting – this can be seen by our enhanced employee benefits – Maternity/Paternity/adoption and shared parental leave policies and also the enhanced sick leave – as parents we all know children are germ factories and are generous in spreading whatever they have 😉Julia illustrated

Do you think the working world has changed since you had smaller children in enabling parents to have the best of both worlds?

Absolutely! When I started working it was seen as ‘unprofessional’ to bring any home life issues in to the work place and businesses did not understand or offer support for parents or carers. This has now changed and remote, flexible working has given opportunities to many people who previously couldn’t enter the work force due to caring responsibilities.

How does it feel as owner/founders knowing that you are enabling parents to have a successful career and also be a thriving parent?

It feels great! Both Steve and I are passionate about giving people opportunities to be their best and fulfil their own potential and knowing that you are enabling people to be great parents who are able to be ‘present’ for their children, whilst also expanding their professional careers, is an honour. We hope that our business principles here benefit the parent and child.

When you decided to take Payara global and remote did you know that you would have such a positive impact on parents’ lives, enabling them to be good at both?

Yes and No ! “Yes”, because we have always given flexibility in working hours and days , and “No” because remote working has allowed us to expand that flexibility in ways we never imagined. Being able to offer fully remote and time flexible working has changed the business and the way we work – allowing parents to work at times to suit their parenting needs gives them a chance to focus on both aspects of their lives.

Do you think the world is changing and more companies should enable remote/flexible working and why?

In some industries and functions I can’t see why companies wouldn’t offer remote and flexible working to their staff as it can be such a beneficial opportunity, and research shows when done well, increases productivity and morale of staff and decreases stress and presenteeism. There will always some roles or industries that will need staff to perform on site, but being able to offer some degree of flexible working should always be possible.

Julia and her children in the Lake District
Julia and her children in the Lake District

As founder/owners, what benefits do you see from being a remote global company able to support working parents?

Increase in productivity, realignment of policy and practice to support remote/flexible working, greater increase in talent pool due to parents/carers who were previously excluded from working, better staff morale, less stress, less absenteeism, more opportunity to use the hours gained by not having to commute to improve mental and physical health, growing a diverse and inclusive culture enables staff to see and understand different cultures, languages and become more respectful and tolerant of others in the work place, widening staff perspective on what work means to them (something they are passionate about or want to achieve in … rather than something that pays), giving parents the time and support to be great parents who can be present for their children daily and support their growth and development to achieve more in life – the early years of child development are crucial to their future success.


At Payara, we try to meet the needs of parents like Dominika and Simon with in-built flexibility, adjusting to allow for home routines.

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Topics: Fish Food, Giving Back, Payara Life

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