I have worked for Ofwat for five and a half years which is longer than I have worked for any previous employer. One of the main reasons for this is the flexible and agile way in which I am able to work, which means that I can juggle the demands of my work with the demands of a young family and achieve a work-life balance that wouldn’t be possible with other employers.
The fantastic technology that we have (Surface Pros, mobiles and Skype) means that we can work pretty much any time from any place, as long as we make this clear in our diaries so that colleagues know when we are and aren’t available and how they can contact us.
My normal working pattern is to work three full days in the office and part days on Monday and Friday from home. This means that on Mondays and Fridays I can take and collect the children from school and don’t have to put them into before or after school club. This is great for both them and me and it saves me money.
As I don’t have to start work at any particular time, it also means that I can fit in a quick HIT class at the gym, which sets me up really well for my day’s work and I don’t have to go to the gym on those evenings which would reduce the time I have with my children.
If there is a special event on at school during my normal working hours, I can pretty much always attend it as long I make my boss aware of it and it doesn’t conflict with an important meeting. I don’t have to take this is annual leave, but just need to make sure that I make up the time so that I still deliver the expected outputs. This makes me feel good because I don’t feel like I am missing out on being a school mum and on important events in my children’s lives.
We also have a generous annual leave allowance at Ofwat, and on top of this I get any extra hours that I work back. I can take a lot of the school holidays off, which is great for both the kids and me, and saves money on childcare. Above all else, it is the support and trust that Ofwat has for its staff that enables me to work in such an agile way which works for my family, for Ofwat and for me. I cannot imagine being back in a job where I have to work 9 to 5 in the office, five days a week with set lunch breaks, where someone is watching over me to ensure that I am in at 9 every morning and not leaving before 5!
Gillian Tanfield, Programme Director