Business in Wales, 4th May 2007
Describe the way in which your work is “flexible”?
I work 4 days each week; and the exact days can vary week by week.
Do you work at home or in an office?
Both, I am office based during office hours for the four days, but I’m a partner in Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice and so have management responsibilities as well as client work. As this can create a large volume of work, I also work from home.
Why did you start flexible/home working?
I wanted to be able to have one weekday when I could be at home with my pre-school son and take my two daughters to school and back. I wanted to have some involvement in the children’s everyday lives, rather than just be there in the evenings and at weekends.
Did you find it a difficult adjustment from your previous way of working?
The real worry for me was having to find a way to reduce my workload when I went to four days. With the time spent working from home I still manage a full week’s workload, but this set up allows so much more flexibility it is well worth it.
How important is it to establish a routine of work?
I think it is essential but not at the expense of flexibility. As a solicitor, by nature of the profession, I have to manage my time very carefully and also fit around my clients’ requirements. I can’t just say ‘sorry that’s my day off’ if I’m needed in court.
How is your work/life balance? Has it benefited?
I feel that the balance is pretty good at the moment. It is certainly much better than when I worked Monday to Friday. I used to feel that I was letting my children down as I didn’t really see them much during the week. Now we have a lovely weekday together where I get to meet their friends, other parents and their teachers at school.
Do you think you are more productive than if you worked a regular 9-to-5 in the office?
Yes, without a doubt. How can you not achieve more when you’re happier in your work, and life in general?
Would you ever go back to a regular 9-to-5?
Perhaps when my children have left school, but the next step for me I think will be when all my children are in full time school, I then hope to work 5 days a week again but shorter days so I can work during school hours. That way I’ll still be able to pick them up from school and be involved in their after school activities.
What advice would you give to people planning to take-up flexible/home working?
To go for it, but to be careful in keeping their work separate from their home life. If work from home is needed, it is really helpful to have a small removed office environment in your home so that when you enter, you can more easily and quickly shift into ‘work-mode’.