I have worked at Bright Horizons in the sales function for nearly 10 years and during that time my wife and I married and we started our family. With our two boys now aged 4 and 6 it's been interesting for me to look back on how working flexibly has helped and supported our family.
I should first say that, for me, working flexibly means having an adult, honest and trusting relationship with my employer. We agree what we want to achieve individually and as a business, we speak openly and honestly about challenges and how we want to deliver results. Our flexible working pattern isn't really discussed - except to ask after family and whether everyone has what they need.
For me, this has meant my being able to take my children into nursery and school at least 4 and often 5 days a week. It means that when I want to meet customers early in the day or commit to a project that requires extra hours I use our Back-Up Care benefit or talk to my wife about swapping our schedules. My wife has been able to study, retrain and move sectors following the birth of our second son. She now has a four day per week work schedule with her employee who is as focused on results (as opposed to input) as my own.
We do feel fortunate to have worked within environments that recognise that wellbeing and family care are importance to us. But, it has also been a conscious choice for us to seek out this type of employment and also to commit and strive to do well within the environment.
I'd describe the flexible working culture here as being a key contribution to what's been a very happy period in our lives - where work has been an important part of family life, rather than source of conflict.
Paul Quartly, Head of Business Development, Bright Horizons