Working flexibly means I do my job well

469 words approx. 3 minutes to read

In celebration of International Men’s Day, Director of Insights and Data Tim Sleap talks about how balancing work and family life helps him be good at both

468 words approx. 3 minutes to read

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!

Tim Sleap
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.

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