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Make flexible working, work for you

Finding the ideal work / life balance is everyone’s dream. It could mean earlier start and finish times, working from home a few days a week or even having the option to work part time or splitting shifts. It’s an interesting issue that affects not just mothers or those caring for elderly relatives. These days, both men and women are asking for flexible working hours to spend more time with children, to concentrate on hobbies, or simply to manage their time better. The stigma attached to the issue often comes from the image that not being at your desk means you’re not serious about your work or that it will stop you being promoted.

We caught up with Edward Hammock, Strategic Rail Market Key Account Manager at Atkins, who is smashing the stigma of flexible working. The great thing about Edward is that he actively encourages flexible working hours for his whole team while also bucking the image of flexi-hours only being an advantage for working mothers.

What is your flexible work arrangement at Atkins?
It’s great being at Atkins because I’m able to work from home every Friday. I’m also able to work in the office for reduced hours on the remaining days and even work on the train as part of my working hours.

Why are flexible work hours important to you?
I find I can work the hours necessary to get the job done, but also have quality time with my family which is really important to me as a dad.

How did you decide on the best flexible work arrangement for you? 
I joined Atkins at my local office which meant I had time for breakfast with my family and put my children to bed.  Moving to an office in London meant my commute increased to 2 ½ hours each way, so flexible working meant I could regain that precious time with the family.

Do you feel being a flexible worker hinders your chance of promotion?
I feel I have exactly the same opportunities as anyone else.  I’ve worked in previous offices where it pays to be part of those after-hours discussions, but Atkins isn’t like that, thankfully.
 
What challenges do you face with flexible working and how do you overcome them?
Cloud services can be difficult. I have to plan my time very carefully to ensure that I can operate within the technical limitations. I’ve also increased my mobile package to a data limit which allows me to tether my laptop and I make use of free Wi-Fi on the train. It’s a different way of working but you soon get used to it.

How do you ensure your personal responsibilities don’t restrict you at work?
My former Military career means I’m naturally self-motivated and disciplined when working remotely. I have a study at home which is for working in – I rarely use my laptop anywhere else. It’s a case of being focused and not letting work and home life overlap too much.

How do you communicate with your team?
My team find that using Skype IM and voice calling is the best method of staying in touch with each other.  I make use of video calls and I also use audio calls more than I ordinarily would – it’s so much more personal than an email.

What impact has flexible working made on your life?
A totally positive one! Without flexible working, I don’t think I’d be as productive in my role at Atkins. I love my job and the arrangement that I have means I can enjoy a healthy work/life balance which is important for everyone these days.

Inspired by Edward’s story? We’re always on the lookout for people to join us at Atkins. Whether you’re beginning your career, or are more experienced – we’d be more than happy to find out how you could grow with us.