Flexible Working as a Parent at DSW

Following on from our previous article, we ended National Work Life Week with answers from our colleagues Connor & Liz on how DSW promotes flexible working as a parent.

flexible working as a parent

Our approach to flexible working allows our working parents to be successful in their commitments to work and home. Knowing that they do not need to sacrifice one for the other and that they can balance an exciting career with other priorities such as family, friends, and hobbies is successful in creating a culture of trust in our business.

Our colleagues, overall, are offered the same opportunities for growth and development with a hybrid approach to working as before. This is particularly important to our working parents, who will tell us more about this below!

Connor – Corporate Finance Manager

How does DSW support you as a parent to manage your work/life balance?

Being able to have the flexibility of working patterns and the ability to work from home or elsewhere really helps with being able to manage my work-life balance as it isn’t my own time that I need to manage but that of my family’s time too.

Being able to work from home means I also save over an hour a day of commuting time. I can easily throw on a load of washing, cook dinner for the family, quickly nip out to run an errand, get shopping delivered, or lend a quick hand where needed. The ability to log off, pick up my daughter from nursery, give her dinner and have her bath time and bedtime routine, and then pick up things later if needed is invaluable. I wouldn’t be able to do anything like this if I wasn’t able to leave the office earlier and pick up things later at home.

If I was in the office every day, it means that my evenings and weekends are even shorter because of commuting times, I don’t get to spend as much time with my daughter or wife, and then the 5-minute tasks I’m able to do during the week pile up for the weekend and take over any relaxation time.

Within the Corporate Finance team, we don’t enforce several days in the office, or a requirement for certain days in the office – we work proactively and adjust to client requirements where needed, but given the changing world, our clients are too becoming more flexible in their working patterns. I’m always able to manage my home life for the school run, sports days, appointments, parents’ evenings etc. as we’re able to communicate as a team about our flexibility in working patterns. Having visibility with colleagues and having open conversations is also important to be successful in this.

How important is flexibility in the workplace when you are a working parent?

Massively, it’s key. Having children means things can change in an instant, being able to be reactive and having an employer who is flexible means that I can still be there as a parent – as opposed to needing to be tied to an office 5 days a week from 8 am – 8 pm, especially where some places have a facetime culture.

What does a typical week look like for you as a working parent? How do you balance family time and work schedules?

I’ll generally work in the office 2 or 3 days per week depending on team and client requirements, usually loaded towards the start of the week. As my wife works full time too, with condensed hours and weekend work, I try to match my schedule with hers where appropriate.

I’ll usually work Monday, and Tuesday or Wednesday in the office, as I’ll be able to drop my daughter off at nursery and my wife picks her up. The other two or three days will either be at home with occasional external meetings.

I balance my work time by ensuring that I’m productive when I’m working and when I’m not working, I am switched off and I’m able to spend quality time with my family. Sometimes that may mean that I get up earlier and power through, or other times pick up things later on in the evening.

Liz – Talent & Resourcing Manager

flexible working as a parent

What advice do you have for other working parents on how to balance their work and life effectively?

The key is being organised – a great idea is to keep a joint planner for both home and work. Also, try not to focus on home and work tasks at the same time. Carve out time for both in your day but deal with them separately otherwise, you feel you are not doing either well. This requires being disciplined and keeping separate to-do lists for both.

Enjoy the flexibility and don’t feel guilty. Be there for important school events, for example, knowing you can flex your work around this if you plan and are organised.

How does DSW support you as a parent to manage your work/life balance?

DSW is extremely flexible and supportive, enabling me to be there for my kids when I need to be and to get my job done. For example, I can swap around my hours and working days to allow me to have time off with a child or attend an important event at the school. You are treated as an adult and trusted to get your work done, in a way that fits with your other priorities. My colleagues are also supportive and helpful, enabling me to work part-time hours with there being no expectation or pressure to work beyond my agreed hours.

Does your work schedule allow you to spend quality time with your family & give you enough time to de-stress?

Yes, very much so. The flexibility to work in the office or from home, when it suits me, is a huge benefit and helps the juggle far more manageable! This is another good example of DSW being supportive.

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Thank you to Ellen, Cath, Connor, and Liz for sharing an insight into how you find joy in your professional lives and at home with your children. It’s certainly reassuring to know that, despite its challenges, balancing a loving family and a fulfilling career is no longer an impossible task. We are delighted to support you on the journey!

If you would like to join our network, you can check out our job opportunity at DSW Careers.