All women in EEAST (AWE) – flexible working for working mums

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As reported in Need to Know this week, a new special interest group has been set up by our Director of People and Culture Lindsey Stafford-Scott.

The group, AWE, is to provide women within the Trust with networking opportunities, open up mentoring pathways and encourage and support personal and professional development.

You can read the first case study the group has produced here. It highlights the importance of a workplace that is supportive toward the flexible working needs of working mums.

Name/Role - Nicky Ward – Head of Business Development

Reason for flexible working - Having my two children one of whom has a long term medical condition which provides extra challenges.

What was your experience of applying? I negotiated flexible working as part of my role in operations but then got my job in Business Development so negotiated this as part of my new role terms and conditions. I have since had to request an adjustment to this original working pattern when my children started school. My experience overall was pretty positive but I did my research and spoke to a number of colleagues who had flexible working agreements before I put my application in and got lots of good advice. I was supported by my boss at the time and my current boss is also very supportive and knows that I will be flexible when he needs me to be but is equally flexible in return when I need it due to personal circumstances.

What it meant to you - Personally when my request was granted it created a huge sense of relief. Getting it formally agreed almost gives you a feeling of permission from work to manage your personal situation in a more positive way. I am not sure how I would juggle everything I need to do without this opportunity and hats off to people who manage full shifts and family/carer commitments. It creates a sense of some space for my family and whilst my life is very full on it allows me time to do ‘mum’ stuff even if that means that these days I might as well start a taxi service in my spare time!

How has it helped? Whilst I can still relate to that feeling of struggling to do anything ‘well’ I know that I am able to do things that are important to my children but also that work still gets a lot out of me and ironically I still do considerably more hours than is officially required I just do it around the other things I need to do like the school run on some days. There are times when work takes over still and this is difficult but this is just the nature of the job I do but it is definitely better having a flexible agreement even if it doesn’t pan out as it’s written on paper but I guess that’s the idea of being flexible!

What advice would you give others considering applying for flexible working? Talk to others who have done it and get their advice or even if possible spend some time with someone who does it in the work area you are in so there are some easy comparisons. In my application I also made it clear what the Trust would get from me in return and don’t be afraid to highlight the positives.

Published 5th May, 2017

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