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I know people work in different ways and with varying levels of flexibility; mine even changes from one day to the next. For me, flexible working is essential, not only so I can keep my life in check, but also so I can do my job well. I’m really open about needing flexibility at work, and people often ask me why it makes such a difference. This is what I always say:
I want to play an equal part in bringing up my son
I want to be involved as much as I can, not just so I can join in the fun, but also so he grows up with an open mind. Being the primary care giver isn’t – and shouldn’t be – defined by gender; it shouldn’t be a role that belongs to just women or just men. Why should there be just one person in charge anyway? My wife works shifts so I need to be flexible with my time, for practical reasons like the school run as well as for getting time together as a family.
‘Make sure you put your lifejacket on before helping others with theirs’
Someone once told me the key to holding down a big job and having a happy family life is to listen to the safety announcements when you get on a plane. I’ve used this motto ever since; for me to have a work-life balance I need to put on my life jacket first. Flexible working lets me look after what’s most important to me, and that means I do my job well.
Being with my family is the best and, as it happens, it also makes me better at my job. It’s so easy to become stressed and over-involved in work; spending time with my family gets my head back into reality, so when I come back refreshed I can see the bigger picture and make better decisions.
I’ve found work I really want to do
I’m actually writing this in the evening, after going to see my son’s harvest festival assembly in the morning – it was amazing! I really enjoy my job and want to do well in it, so I don’t mind working outside traditional business hours; it makes it easier to switch between family and work life.
Making these two parts of my life work together is a challenge, but it’s one I enjoy. I’m not the only one, which is why PACT exists. I’ll be speaking act their Flexible Working Parent’s Event on 29 January, showing support for colleagues balancing work and parenthood. I hope to see you there!
Director of Insights and Data
PACT’s Flexible Working Parent’s Event is taking place on 29 January in 1 Angel Square’s 9th Floor Barn. Feel free to come along, hear more and share your experiences.