Mar 9, 2020

Flexibility = focused

Edel Brangan, Principal Sustainability Engineer in our Birmingham office gives us the lowdown on her experience with flexible working since returning to work at Cundall after maternity leave.

What prompted your decision to work more flexibly?

My husband and I welcomed our first baby, a little girl, in April 2018. During my maternity leave, I decided that I would like to return to work on a flexible basis to allow me the opportunity to spend more time with her while she is growing up and to help with childcare arrangements.

How did Cundall support you in making the change?

My managers at Cundall were very supportive throughout my pregnancy and regularly reassured me that they would be open to flexible working. I decided that four days a week would provide me with my ideal balance between work and time at home with my daughter. I discussed this with my team leaders and we came to an agreement together.

My flexible working arrangement at Cundall is four days a week (Monday to Thursday).

As a flexible worker do you feel that you have the same opportunities for training, development and promotion as someone who works regular hours and has the same ability and experience?

I feel that I have the same opportunities for training, development and promotion as those who work regular hours. During my first few months back, I have been put forward for several training opportunities. I was also particularly fortunate to be promoted from Senior to Principal Engineer while I was on maternity leave. This was a very unexpected and welcome opportunity.

What challenges have you encountered as a flexible worker? How have/do you overcome them?

The main challenges for me have been the unforeseen situations that I have been unable to plan for. Particularly, when my daughter is ill and unable to attend nursery, I need to stay home unexpectedly. To help with these situations, Cundall has facilitated me with a laptop. This has proven to be invaluable as it has allowed me to work from home when required to meet any necessary deadlines.

How do you communicate with your team and keep in touch about project developments?

I work in the office four days a week, so communication is straight forward. I brief the team on a Thursday so that they are informed about any queries that may arise in my absence. The team also knows that I am contactable by email and phone if necessary.

Are you the only member of your team working flexibly? If not, how do you ensure you are both/all up to date on projects etc?

My line manager also works flexibly. He works nine days in ten with every second Wednesday off. The other three members of our team in Birmingham work more ‘typical hours’. Each week we have a meeting about projects and resources, so I am always kept up to date on what is happening in the team.

How has flexible working benefited you in terms of the impact on your personal life?    

I am enjoying Friday’s at home with my daughter. Having the extra day also means that I can complete domestic tasks and attend any necessary appointments. This frees me up so that we can enjoy weekends as a family.

Do you think the ability to work flexibly has made you better at your role at Cundall? If so, how?

I hope so. As my time in the office is now more limited, both in terms of working only four days per week and having to arrange my working day around nursery drop off and pick up times, I think I have had to become more focused and prioritise tasks. The extra day has helped me switch off from work at weekends a bit more. This provides me with a better work life balance and an opportunity to come into work refreshed on a Monday morning.

Flexible working is a key aspect of Cundall’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy. Read more about it on our website.

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Health & Wellbeing, Health and Wellbeing, Uncategorized

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