Policy Advisor, Business Engagement
Employer: Government Equalities Office (GEO)
Sector: Public Sector
I returned to work after a five year break caring for my child who had additional health needs. Despite my confidence being low, it was important for me to return to work, and more importantly to build my career again. Before I did this, my partner and I discussed the level of balance we wanted to achieve for our family. He works in an industry with a long hours culture, and we agreed that whilst the availability of flexibility would be a key factor in my decision making process, he would also challenge established thinking to work as flexibly as he could, as we both wanted to ensure we spent time with our children each working day.
My current working pattern is a four day week with one day working from home, which will increase to two days working from home from September. I also work staggered start and end times which I co-ordinate with my partner to ensure that one of us is there for school drop off and home for dinner and bed-time; we usually agree the plan on a Sunday evening according to diaries. Good communication with my line manager and my team have been key to the success of this. I have also been able to take unpaid parental leave during part of the summer holidays to allow me to spend quality time with my children, again with planning and preparation with my team and line manager.
This pattern is working for us, I am engaged and productive at work as I feel that I am able to be involved in career building projects whilst being a hands on mum and likewise for my partner. I have no doubt that our flexible working needs will change as our family grows, however I am confident that this is something we will be able to continue to manage sensibly with good communication and employer support.