Securing a good work/life balance

How flexible hours are benefiting a busy parent of two

With two daughters (aged four and 11), a husband who works shifts and limited family support close by, more flexible working hours have been invaluable for NHS Operations Support Manager Laura Haslam.

Laura, who joined the NHS Contracts team based at Cirrus House in June 2018, has agreed hours that enable her to manage her role alongside school runs and childcare, and it has been a win-win for both parties.

‘My role includes managing and maintaining the relationship between Specsavers and a number of Clinical Commissioning Groups, dealing with contractual queries and some project work,’ explains Laura. ‘I have been given the opportunity to manage my own diary and have a better work-life balance after many years of struggling and the stress that comes with being unable to be there for your children when they need you.

It works very well for us as a family and for my role too. It is my choice to be a working parent, but I couldn’t do it without the support and flexibility from my manager Vicky and Specsavers. It proves that you can still be effective in your job while making slight changes to your working day that do not impact your workplace responsibilities.’

Line manager support

Laura’s manager Vicky Ward is a real advocate of flexibility in her team and has seen many benefits so far.

‘Allowing people to flex their hours has enabled me to drive productivity. People are less concerned about any personal challenges they may have during the day as they know they will be able to get support to manage them if needed. This results in a greater focus on their work and I have noticed better output as a result. In my experience, colleagues are always very appreciative of flexibility and the support it offers them, and in turn they give more to you and the wider team when needed.’

Laura’s experience of flexible working in previous companies hadn’t been as positive.

‘I found it very difficult and quite upsetting that I wasn’t able to secure a good work/life balance. Specsavers is the flip side of this and I have never felt my personal commitments are being questioned here. I thoroughly enjoy my current role, the support from my line manager and the ongoing opportunities to learn and develop. Flexibility is key to all of this.’

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