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An HR Journey with #FlexibleWorking in mind!

I have multiple jobs in my life, (1) mummy to two crazy, beautiful, boisterous boys (2) wife and general domestic goddess 😉 (3) career HR professional looking to change the world! Life is busy, my mind is busy, I get frustrated by my lack of time, yet am determined to make it all work. Determined to make a difference.

This is all made possible with trust and empowerment, complete workplace autonomy from thought to working arrangements and amazing childcare. Me and the hubby manage nursery pick up and drop off, we don’t have family who can look after the kids, having understanding childcare provision is so important to me.

Rewind back to 2003, studying for a degree in HR & Business, I didn’t want to be one of those people who ‘just had a degree’ I wanted to be the one who had real life experience. Understood how things worked on a practical level. So having worked in River Island and New Look evenings and at the weekend and of course, loving a bit of retail therapy, I connected with retailers to ask them to take me on for FREE in their HR team. I was so desperate to have that leading edge that I was happy to work a day a week for nothing. Sooo grateful to the HR Director, and the team at Faith Footwear Limited, who fully integrated me and gave me fabulous insights, projects and learning opportunities. You’ll be pleased to know that they did pay me too ;-).

From there I went to TUI for a short stint, until they closed their Greater London House office, then to Sodexho. I worked under a superb manager who gave me huge learning opportunities to really find my feet.

Then, starting to get more settled at home, with a fur baby too, I made the move to Pitney Bowes which was closer to home. Fast forward 11 years and I’m still here. I work with a collaborative, exciting and dynamic leadership team. I’m proud to work with them. They embrace my crazy, quirky ideas and I’m part of their team. None of this exciting stuff would be possible without their engagement, and the support of others in the HR team. I partner closely with my Talent Acquisition partners who have joined me on this journey.

“At Pitney Bowes we recognise the importance of building a diverse and inclusive pipeline of talent. We’re a growing business, almost 100 years old, and we’re currently in the middle of an exciting transformation. Our people play a crucial part in this journey.”

I’m hugely excited and proud that in 2018 we launched a collection of Family Friendly roles. From a contingent workforce model, school hours, term time to job pairs. With every sales role that we have, we always consider each time – can we make this work differently? Every step of the way we are assessing the effectiveness of these roles, determining ways to engage the talent pool and tell them about our unique value proposition.

Along with our Family Friendly roles, we created our Charter, to help explain our commitment to this space:

“Family life is important. We get it. At Pitney Bowes we recognise the importance of balancing work and personal life. We offer fantastic career opportunities, flexibility, but most importantly, understanding.”

We welcome applications from those who want to be able to care of loved ones, older and younger, and those of the furry kind. Those who want flexibility, those who want to quit the 9-5 or those who just occasionally are able to connect with their work selves.

At the end of Q3 we will complete a formal review of these roles and the impact that they have had on our organisation, our teams and on the lives of those who we have been able to welcome in to the workplace. I’m passionate and I care. I cannot wait to see how this intervention transforms our employee experience.

If you’d like to learn more about who we are, our offering or simply network to understand how we can create the platform for more flexibility in the workplace get in touch! Drop me a line at: Angela.holland@pb.com

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High Profile Returners… Helen Wright is doing it for herself, for you and for the love of flex.

The birth of “9-2-3” has been a very personal journey. Following a career as a Broadcast Journalist (where I worked for both the BBC and ITV), I stopped working to have a family. During this time, amongst other things, I was Vice Chair of the local Pre School and joined the Parish Council. But when I wanted to return to the workplace, I found being tied to the school run was prohibitive, as was the cost of hiring a nanny to look after my three children.

Chatting to other mums in the playground, I realised I was not alone. There were accountants, solicitors, marketing execs, HR professionals… the list goes on. None were working. What a brain drain! What a waste of experience. Here was a bunch of over-talented women all keen to work – all wanting to put their considerable expertise back to good use.

In short, I realised there are lots of talented workers struggling to be discovered, along with lots of employers struggling to find the professionals they needed. So in 2015 I decided to set up a recruitment agency, “9-2-3”, in order to help connect them.

9-2-3 specialises in flexible roles – whether that’s 9-3 school hours, more traditional part-time hours (of a few days a week) or even full-time hours (but with some home-working or compressed hours).

All the research shows that flexible workers are more productive, have fewer sick days, and greater staff retention – plus they’re more engaged at work, they want to be there!

Last year 9-2-3 commissioned some research of our own which showed that 3 out of 4 office workers (both male and female) believe that we will all be working flexibly within 5 years. After all, flexible working benefits everyone – both businesses and candidates; whether they’re mums or dads, or those with caring responsibilities, or those simply seeking a better work-life balance (so they can come into their place of work feeling refreshed, valued and raring to go).

9-2-3 has enjoyed continued growth and success (in fact we’re hiring ourselves now). We’ve been working with a variety of forward-thinking businesses, all looking to recruit experienced professionals on a flexible basis. We’re currently working on roles in the charity sector, HR, sales, finance and more…

Last year we also launched The 9-2-3 Club, with an exciting event at Westminster – supported by MPs and Ministers. The idea behind the Club is to give members the opportunity to get together at regular meetings where they can share experiences and gain in confidence before re-entering the workplace. These meetings are designed to be fun and informal get-togethers, where we can share experiences and feel inspired and empowered to move our careers forward in a flexible way.

I believe there’s a revolution taking place in our workplaces, and that flexible working is the future. The more of us shouting about it – the louder our voice! So the next time you are speaking to an employer, ask them what flexible working arrangements they have in place, and together we can improve our workplaces for everyone.

You can find all Helen’s latest flexible roles here

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I have 1.4 million candidates available but I am only sending them to Goldman Sachs!

7 Women Returners. Diversity

We are currently experiencing a huge skills shortage, my financial services clients and manufacturing clients seem to spend their lives hiring, they fill one position and another becomes available. How are we going to find the staff to keep up? Well the first option and obvious one is to up-skill internally (but I’ll save that for another rant) the second option is to tap into the UKs 1.4 million eligible candidates!

| Who are they, what do they do and where do I get my hands on them?! |

Well, do you remember Susan your former FD who got pregnant but couldn’t come back full-time because of childcare? Well bingo, we have 1.4 million Susan’s.

And because 95% of employers are yet to realise we need our Susan’s and still believe the world is full of 20-year-old geniuses with 16 years’ experience willing to work for £20,000, we are currently the crappiest Western country when it comes to getting parents back into work; 27% lower than any other country in fact!

Well done United Kingdom, we have actually managed to go backwards!

After the war when we had a skills shortage (admittedly slightly more severe than the one we have now) we created on-site nurseries, so women could come to work and know there was a safe, guaranteed place for their children to be! Genius.

Now whilst 95% of employers are damn average at supporting parents back into work, 5% have actually realised the value of Susan(s) and have taken the initiative to do something about their skills shortage, staff turn over and retention! (For the purpose of this argument, I am ignoring you fantastic supporters of flexible working, this is purely focussed on on-site support) Goldman Sachs is leading the way, they now have on-site nurseries in their London, Tokyo and New York offices. In locations where they can’t provide childcare facilities, they work with local nurseries to subsidise their facilities for employees. They also provide after school and holiday clubs for 5-12 year olds, which has proved to be exceptionally popular! Around 1400 Goldman Sachs employees use their childcare services! 1400! That’s ¼ of their employees.

I know I know, Goldman Sachs have so much money it’s not a fair comparison! They could give every new starter a gold-plated calculator and diamond stapler!

“My company is too small I can’t afford to fund internal childcare” – well yes that’s pretty bloody obvious! However, you also thought you couldn’t afford a fancy meeting suite, coffee machine and serviced lift but you found a small office to rent in a shared building with all those perks.

Welcome shared office child-care suites!

https://secondhome.io/ http://www.third-door.com/ https://www.officreche.com/#

“Article 50 is coming” and we still have little to no idea on how it is going to impact our current foreign workers. We have 2.2 million EU workers; let’s say 50% leave the UK, that leaves us with an additional 1.1 million vacancies on top of the current 770,000. If you think it’s hard to recruit now, imagine an additional 1 million vacant positions!

Let’s do the maths here, if above 50% leave the UK we will be left with 1,870,000 vacancies. There are only 1.4 million unemployed people in the UK, even if they all were miraculously suitable and skilled for current vacancies we still have a deficit of 470,000 jobs with no people to fill them.

Surely this is reason enough to really consider how you are making work accessible for parents, particularly single parents!

Take 6 minutes out of your day to hear Rohan Silva and Rachel Carrell discuss how you can overcome the challenges of childcare for parents!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05b4vzh

Written by Harriet Finch @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/harrietfinch/

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JUST GO FOR IT!

Deloitte.co.uk Return To Work

Interested in coming back to work after a break? Charlotte Blyton discusses how she got back into the workplace via Deloitte’s Return to Work programme. Since returning, she has been named one of Timewise’s Power Returners, and been promoted from Senior Manager to Associate Director. She offers her advice around returning to work.

“My advice for those thinking about returning to work after a break is just go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve all been there and thought ‘I can’t do it’. But you can. I was considering taking a part time management job at a pre-school, until I heard about the Deloitte Return to Work programme.

I’d lost confidence; my world had narrowed and I’d lowered my expectations. A friend who’s a career coach told me I shouldn’t limit myself, that there are opportunities out there. She was right. I was one of the eight Deloitte alumni asked to join the pilot scheme in 2015. I came back in as a Senior Manager, was offered a permanent role, and am now an Associate Director in Tax Management Consulting. I believe I can be a Director; it’s just a question of getting there.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get back on the career ladder. Even just applying and going to the insight day builds your confidence. I got so much out of it, even before I was offered a role. The programme gives you a chance to get back up to speed. You still have to deliver, but in a more supportive environment.”

Charlotte Blyton
Associate Director, Tax Consulting

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A friendly request from some Mums returning to work – by Lianne Baker

Dear Recruiter or Hiring Manager

Following maternity leave, us Mums are feeling a bit vulnerable. We have been out of the workplace for about a year, going through pretty much the most life changing experience we could ever go through. We have gone from a career where we felt in control and like we knew what we were doing to a world of nappies, feeding, sleepless nights, late night Googling of unknown reasons why a baby might cry and we have had whole days where we didn’t speak to a single adult.

We were feeling nervous about what life would be like as a working Mum so we were hoping to go back to the familiarity of the job we already knew and were good at. We were hoping to work slightly adjusted hours to give us a chance of being able to put our own baby to bed, whilst still doing a good job. Our employers were so excited to meet our babies and cooed over them but then they asked us to fill out a huge form and then in a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, they firmly said no. Just like that, our years of service and hard work came to nothing.

Feeling at our most rejected and vulnerable we are applying to the very few flexible roles that exist. We are sending out our CV’s and meeting all the recruitment agencies. We are squeezing into old suits that don’t really fit anymore whilst connecting with hundreds of people on LinkedIn. We are applying for jobs and preparing for job interviews whilst feeding our babies.

With that in mind we just have a few friendly requests;

● Please take us seriously. We haven’t had our brains sucked out, we have just been busy learning new things.
● Please do your best to stick to telephone call times or be understanding about re-arranging for another day. We have carefully planned these calls around nap times and childcare so if you are 25 minutes late, we might not be able to take your call quite so easily.
● Please don’t ask us to take dramatic pay cuts. Childcare is really expensive and we need every penny we are worth.
● Please don’t pull apart our CV’s and question all of our career choices. Now is not the time to make us feel worthless. Instead give us constructive advice about how to make our CV or application really stand out or ask questions to gather information that brings out the best from us.
● Please don’t force us to take a job that we don’t want. We may be keen to find a new job, but that doesn’t mean we have to take something that won’t work for us.
● Please don’t suggest we change our career path. We have spent years getting to where we were because we enjoy it and want to do it. Having a child doesn’t mean that our ambitions have changed.
● Please don’t ask us (or anyone) to fill out lengthy application forms if our CV isn’t right for your role. What a waste of everyone’s time.
● Please don’t treat us like we are a risky hire. You won’t find someone harder working and more focused than a parent who has to leave on time to do the nursery or school pick up.
● Please spare some time to give us feedback. We have spent valuable time applying for your job, the least you can do is give us some considered and constructive feedback.
● Please consider the hours of your role and whether there is some flexibility around your office hours. Even your ‘flexible’ hours might not be suitable for as many people as you think.
● Please treat us like you would want your own mother to be treated if she was applying for your job. This probably was her a few years ago.

Thanks, from some hardworking professional women who are also Mothers

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Flexibility is not just a job benefit, it gets better business outcomes

At the beginning of 2018, commuters received their annual shock.

The holidays are over, you’re having a dry month, you promised yourself you’d exercise, and just when life can’t feel any harder going – oh, UK rail fares have jumped 3.4% on average!

Travel costs account for 13% of a person’s salary for the average Chelmsford to London commuter – in fact, much of the pain of these increases is felt by people who need to make their way into London from elsewhere to work.

It begs the question: why, in this world of flexible working, is commerce still so obsessed with working out of offices in London? According to Instant Offices, the average desk space in the West End now costs £732 per month. Multiplied by a workforce, this can be a serious expense. If you’ve got 100 employees you’re close to £1m a year before you even furnish the place.

So why are so many businesses still insisting on doing it?

When I joined TMP in 2013, the behaviours that drive the workplace looked very different than they do today. Physically, it was a huge space, spread over four floors on Tottenham Court Road. Its ‘commercial’ drivers equated to lots of hours, a culture on the serious side, and an expectation of punctuality and presence in the office.

Just five years later, most of my colleagues work flexibly, and that’s allowed us to shrink to just a single floor, with a rotating cast of people from day-to-day on hot desks. It’s buzzy yet relaxed, with a variety of collaboration spaces. People come and go, and we rate each other on our outcomes rather than our facetime.

It works for everyone. The workforce is happy to be trusted and carry out their jobs in a way that fits what they need to deliver as whole people – at work and at home.

The client service leads are happy that their people are out meeting clients and getting into their businesses, instead of taking up desk space and drinking all our coffee.

And the CFO and the rest of the leadership can certainly see the benefit of reducing expensive real estate costs, in a way that is win-win for everybody else concerned: by being flexible.

Not just cost saving or beneficial to clients, this can also attract top talent. A few years back, we had a talented candidate decline an offer from us, because at the time we were less enlightened and required a Monday to Friday, 9-5.30 commitment. As he had a choice where he worked, he chose a firm more willing to trust people to produce results.
Lesson learned, and luckily we’ve changed.

Flexibility also brings inclusion benefits. Forcing everyone to conform to establishment working structures will get you establishment people. A bit of flexibility might open up your business to candidates who think differently and construct their lives in a way that doesn’t follow the average.

Attracting cognitive diversity to your workforce means being open-minded about ways of working.

Being more flexible about where, when and how we work won’t solve our season ticket problems today. But as more businesses learn to focus more on outcomes than processes, we will see benefits to inclusion, less wasted time, and more people who are happy at work.

Heather DeLand is executive creative director of TMP Worldwide

This article was originally published in Recruiter Magazine and on Recruiter.co.uk

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A Tale Of Two…

Part time working professional

Once upon a time, I was a full time working professional. As company accountant, I loved my job. I loved the business I worked for. My job really did define who I was. Whenever I met new people, conversation would always have the same starting point. “What’s your name?” and “what do you do for a living?” were always the openers.

Then my life changed about a bit. I had dependants – young and old. I was needed, me personally. This couldn’t be delegated or outsourced to anyone else. Perhaps it wasn’t that it couldn’t be, perhaps it was more that it wouldn’t be. Either way, I could no longer do it all.
And so I became a part time working professional.

Then began the search, the CV updating, the networking, the marketing of myself. It soon became very clear that there are really not many part time, senior, challenging, exciting jobs. In the finance world, I could easily find part time work in very junior positions. I would not be using my years of experience and skills, I would not be stretched, I would likely be very bored.

So why was it so hard? Shouldn’t I by treated the same as a full time worker? Shouldn’t I be judged on my CV, my skills and experience regardless? Shouldn’t I be treated in the manner with which I had been treated previously, I was after all the same person?

I could answer these questions myself quite easily – the answer was a resounding NO.

I’m not the same person. It’s that simple. I used to be able to put in 60 hour weeks quite easily. I used to be the dependable one that would always be there in a crisis. I’d always be the one to work early mornings and late nights when it was needed. I cannot do that now.
So in some ways, I’m not as good as I once was. That’s the harsh reality.

But in so many other ways – I am better.

I manage my time better. I might not be in the office full time, but trust me, I have a LOT on my to do list. Some of it work related, some of it not. But nonetheless, I get a lot done in my week. Being in the office part time puts an extra focus on getting things done. More gets done ‘today’ because I can’t guarantee having the time to dedicate to it tomorrow. I am better than I once was.

I can multi task better than I ever thought possible. Juggling a job and a family is pretty commonplace. There are many people out there who do it. But it will never appear on a CV as a skill. I can switch so quickly to the most urgent crisis (whether it’s a financing proposal or a desperate need to provide something for the school cake sale!) and I’ll switch back the second I can. I am better than I once was.

I’m a much more compassionate person these days, caring for a family does that to you! I have more empathy for others than I once had. I don’t think I realised how useful a skill this would be in the workplace. I am better than I once was.

I always said that I loved my job – I always believed that. But now that I do other stuff in between, I really love my job. Those few days of absence makes it all the better to get back to. That extra bit of happiness makes me extra productive. I am better than I once was.

I’m lucky to have the job I have. As I ‘ve said, those exciting, challenging, skills enhancing jobs are few and far between in the part time arena.

I know I’m incredibly fortunate, I know I work for an amazing business with an amazing team of people. I’m grateful and that gives me the motivation to go the extra mile. I am better than I once was.

So in some ways, I’m not what an employer wants – I’m not there 5 days a week. But I’m available 5 days a week (or 6 or 7). Today’s technology makes it even easier to be away from the office. Telephone calls and emails still happen on non-working days as sometimes, you just want to resolve something. Being part time doesn’t have to stop that.

I’m still a professional, I still work hard, I still develop my skills and learn new ones. I still love my job and care about the business I work for. I’m still flexible, I switch my working days here and there, I accommodate meetings to ease others’ diaries. I just cannot be flexible enough to give all my time.

I accept that some businesses will only want employees who are in the office every day – always there, on call for any emergency. But I hope there are still plenty of other businesses who realise that us part time workers can still add value.

Being part time is different. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse – just different.

Sarah Hawthorne ACMA
Financial Controller – Wagstaff Recruitment
Mom to Alice aged 6
Daughter to “Mum and Boss” aged 76
Wife to Simon aged 49 ¾

From the other side of the fence

Wagstaff Recruitment started as a bedroom business. As the owner I drove business through sales and cajoled my husband to do my monthly management accounts on a weekend. Hubby was great, he is an experienced Finance Director, but I became spoilt with his extensive knowledge and skills.

As the company grew, I took on offices and developed a team I knew I needed my own Finance Manager and here lay the problem. Due to hubby’s skill, my expectation of what a Finance Manager could do was unachievable on a part time basis, or so I was told (by external applicants). I wanted someone who could be part of our leadership team. Someone who had great management accounts skills. Someone who was confident to upwardly manage and challenge me. Basically I wanted a high level Finance Manager on a part time basis for an SME and they did not exist. Well they do!!

Then, through a fellow finance recruiter, I was introduced to Sarah! I gained an experienced, skilled professional who has the talent to utilise her skills. Sarah manages her time so well, delegating to our admin support team where needed and delivering a valuable, high quality finance service. I get great finance and management support and it is on a part time basis. The truth is hiring this talent is achievable it just may not be in the convectional way you expect. (I also don’t feel Sarah is part time as she is so flexible and there for me if I really do need her).

I would applaud any business to really consider part-time experienced workers. Finance, Marketing, Engineering, the list can go on! The experience and skill they bring, in my experience, is certainly added value.

Ruth Forster
Founding Director – Wagstaff Recruitment
Mum to Lexi (Our dog! No little people!)

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Mums Make More of Themselves at Screwfix

Being a mother comes first and there may finally be one employer who understands that. Here, Amy tells us about making real friends, working the hours she wants and actually having a life with her son – who, due to his condition, needs a little extra love.

How does Screwfix fit around your home life?

Perfectly. The contact centre is 24-7, so you can choose hours that suit you. I do 5pm ‘til 9pm, four nights a week, which is really good because of my 16 month-old son. My partner picks him up from Mum’s at half five, so I don’t have to pay for childcare. Obviously I’m not doing weekends, which is nice. And they even give you the option to reduce (or increase!) your hours. They’re really good about that and I really feel like they care. My manager is really supportive. My son was born with a condition, so he’s been in and out of hospitals having operations for more than the year of his life. But thanks to this job, I can spend the day bonding with him guilt-free.

Do you enjoy the work?

Definitely. Obviously I take calls, which I really enjoy because you do get to know the customers. You end up having a laugh and helping them at the same time. Everyone who works here makes it a brilliant environment, too. It’s nice to be able to talk to so many different people – older and younger, people with kids and without kids. There’s no set seating plan, so each day I can sit next to my friends or learn about someone new. Plus, you do get a lot of praise here. Each week, we have a score which shows us how well we’ve done. Mine’s been been five out of five for the past few weeks, which I’m really proud of. Sometimes you get left really nice comments from customers as well, which makes you happy to do the job.

“When I first joined, I thought there would be loads of targets, but it’s very relaxed. You’re more genuine to the customers, which keeps them coming back.”

Do you need to know about tools and hardware?

No, they provide all the training. I don’t think it’s about customer service experience, either. I’ve done it as a manager in the past, but there are people who have come here straight out of school. They look at who’s positive, bubbly and friendly. From there, you spend two weeks with your trainer and they go through everything with you. And you decide when you go on the phones. I was on them the first night because I was just eager to learn. They love this because it’s a very rewarding company. They look after their staff and good work is definitely recognised right across the company. They’re determined to help you progress onto bigger and better things, but if you’re content with where you are, that’s fine too.

If you want to learn more about our roles at Screwfix, click HERE

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Meet Neha: A working Mum at Hastings Direct

MummyJobs Happy Mum

“Whilst on maternity leave following the birth of my first child I was made redundant by my previous employer. As you’d imagine, I was full of worry – I had to find a new job as well as find my way as a new mum. However, my worries were soon put at ease when I found that Hastings Direct were recruiting for a part time Team Leader – this was a great opportunity for me as I was able to use the skills I had developed via my NVQ Level 2 in Team Leading.

When I first joined Hastings Direct as a part time Team Leader the role helped me to achieve a perfect home/work life balance. During the day I spent time with my daughter and during the evening and weekends I was able to challenge myself at work to be the best Team Leader I could be. The best thing about working part time was the huge saving we made on childcare. On average my husband and I saved almost £600 a month because of the part time hours I worked at Hastings Direct, and because of this saving; we were able to have two family holidays a year. It also allowed both my husband and I to have one to one time with our child; which we feel is so important.

Having now completed Hastings Direct’s in-house Team Leader training, I feel I have been supported and further developed my career with the company. Since January 2017 I have progressed to a full time Academy Team Leader.
I now work fixed shifts across afternoons to evenings and weekends which allow me to still have a positive work life balance; enabling me to plan ahead and be flexible with my home life. I feel paying for childcare is similar to giving a salary away so I feel very lucky to not have to call on it and I’m able to save while working full time due to my shift pattern. When I work weekdays I spend every morning with our daughter and my husband is with her every evening. So, we’re still saving on childcare as well as spending our one to one time with our daughter. On the weekends we spend time as a family and when I do work a weekend I have a weekday off which allows me to have time to myself, which is also important!

I feel very fortunate to do a job I love while being able to have a great family life – a real ‘win win’ situation!”

If you like what you have heard and would be interested in finding our more, please visit Hastings Direct Careers.

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Louise Jones : Dreamscope TV, the 2nd share from our High Profile Returning Women series.

The Classic Work / Life Balance, Juggling Act, Spinning Plates….

I went to back to work when my daughter was seven months old – to some that was too early but I was in the very fortunate position to be going back to a job I loved and missed. Whilst a fabulous and successful company, it is a small company and it didn’t sit right with me to take any longer off work – and no, I don’t feel guilty for prioritising that. Money was of course a factor too. My maternity pay was paid in full for three months and then down to statutory maternity pay every month thereafter – ouch.

Going back to work was the classic ‘going back to work for a rest’ scenario. I absolutely loved my time on maternity leave, it was so precious and memorable but I was ready to use my brain again and to have more diverse conversations! As soon as I went back, I realised how much I enjoyed my own company too – driving in with the radio on, grabbing my morning coffee, having two arms to do everything…!

I don’t work on the doorstep of home – on a normal day, it takes 40 minutes to drive into work but get the traffic wrong and it can be a two hour journey. Add that to the still occasional disturbed night’s sleep that a one year old can bring and it can be a killer. As selfish as it sounds, I dread her catching another cold or teething again – my priority is of course whether she is ok(!) but I can’t lie that I don’t then wonder how much sleep I’ll lose and dread my alarm going off!

I am constantly asked why I do it, why put myself through that when I could maybe find a job closer to my doorstep?

I started out in TV and media but then left it for a while to do something more ‘sensible’ (mortgage companies wouldn’t touch me at the time until I did!) I did so for eight years and had by then worked my way up, travelled all over the world in my role(s), and had a company car. But I was bored. Oh so very bored and it just wasn’t for me. I missed creativity and the art of having ideas and now I’m now back to where I feel I belong, I’m not prepared to throw that away again.

I can honestly say that my job is my passion, my hobby. I love the work and I love the people. I am surrounded by people on the same level and no longer have ‘the itch.’ It is a fantastic, and I appreciate enviable, position to be in, but my God, have I worked hard for it and to be back here.

Life is definitely tougher with a child in the mix too. The nights I get home at 7pm, I have to practically get her straight to bed or ring my husband and ask that he starts her routine as I’m stuck in traffic. I dislike those nights, I have to say, but I do manage to strike a balance, and I hope one day she agrees that I did that.

We also work on a huge, well known TV show which can mean that we are filming into the very early hours, resulting in getting into bed any time between 12am – 5am – these are of course days when I don’t see that little smile at all albeit my husband always sends me a little picture of her all tucked up in her PJs which helps (me at least).
“Work in a job you love and you’ll never work another day in your life” and that is SO true. If I didn’t feel this, I’m not sure that I would feel balance was being restored. The guilt does kick in on occasion but then I know we’ll get that time back and I’ll more than make up for it.
I have been able to find the balance thanks to having a boss that understands the value of flexible working.

Monday and Thursday, when I work full days, I am lucky enough to have my mother in law and parents look after her respectively. Tuesday and Wednesday she is in nursery 8am-6pm – my husband takes her and I pick her up, meaning I leave work at 4pm to avoid the traffic. Fridays I don’t work and we have a lovely, quality mummy and daughter day. That day is so important to me.

Thankfully, our director understands that it is results that are important, not time-serving. I wish for so many people that their companies understood this too. It works both ways. I have always wanted to give my all when it comes to my work but it makes you want to do that more so when you are given the respect and freedom too. Equally, I understand that on occasion, I will have to work a longer Tuesday or Wednesday or go in on a Friday but because the respect and the trust is given, I want to repay it, and everyone is happy.

Yes, I’m absolutely shattered, yes I struggle to get out of bed some mornings and yes, some nights I go straight to bed once we’ve put her down. But to me it is all worth it. The balancing act for me isn’t just about keeping my daughter happy but keeping myself happy too – happy mum, happy baby, I say – I do so by making sure that every extra hour I spend working or travelling is put back into her in the evenings, on Fridays and at the weekend – seieng that little smile light up when we’re playing, doing something simple like reading a book or are on the little train at the park is all I need to know that all’s good in our little world.

Had I not have been in such a great flexible position at work, I would indeed be running for the hills. I have been miserable in some of my more ‘sensible’, ‘real’ jobs and that is certainly not something I want to bring home to my daughter. I hope she too can one day find something she loves to do and pursues it.

Life is tough and we all have to get by which ever ways suits. There is no right and wrong. Let’s face it, every person you look at who seems to have it all covered is winging it just like the rest of us! Hats off to each and every ruddy one of us!