My alarm goes off at 6.30am. I grant myself a couple of snoozes before I need to get up and dressed for the kids waking up. Each morning we go through the usual tantrums, lost shoes, and “finish your breakfast” cries before I drop them off at school. Then it’s on to work. I usually arrive around 9.30am (depending on traffic) – albeit already feeling like I’ve completed a morning’s work.
As Senior Designer, I count myself lucky that I’m able to work my hours around my family life. For most of my time at Whitewall, I’ve worked solely from home, especially when my kids were young. But a couple of years ago, I thought it was time to get back into the office to see how the working world had changed and answer to the call of “Lara!” instead of “Mummy!”. So now I work three days from the office and two from home.
Whitewall has always offered flexible hours to employees with children and it’s now offered to all employees. It’s self-policed – meaning we have no “clocking in” or “clocking out” system, nobody checking up on when someone arrives or leaves. Staff are trusted to manage their workloads and priorities between the hours of 8am and 6.30pm, completing their 7.5 hours each day at a time that better suits their lifestyle. It’s certainly made my job of juggling the personal and professional a lot easier and I’m interested to see what my colleagues get out of it too!
Flexible working, to me, is a no brainer. (totally agree!)
On my 'office days', I tend to get my head down and work through my tasks for the day. But for certain projects, clients or tasks it helps to be on hand to talk to colleagues face to face, to bounce ideas off one another and feed into wider projects to bring a design perspective to the table. It does also help develop my own creative thinking being around other designers, copywriters, younger members of the team and those really involved in the digital aspects – things like social media, PPC and SEO.
My days at home give me time to think. It’s also amazing how much work you can bash through in the six hours your kids are at school. It also brings with it some dull but useful practicalities – like sticking a washing on in between jobs!
But to get the most from flexible working, you have to be self-disciplined and a master multi-tasker. It’s not easy working full time and raising a family and I do sometimes have to pick up jobs in the evenings, but it works for me and I feel very lucky to have the best of both worlds. Some weeks I may work slightly less hours than my colleagues or leave at 5pm to take my son to football training, but I make sure those hours are both productive and profitable. If a job has a specific deadline, you can rest assured it will be completed on time. And I’m always available at home for design emergencies, so it all works out in the end.
As a self-confessed workaholic, I’m proof that flexible hours can work. It can be hard to switch off sometimes, and I find many of my best ideas enter my head in the car or walking home from school with the kids when I feel more relaxed. I guess that proves that the days of sitting at a desk from 9-5.30pm are well and truly numbered.