Dr Sarah Broadberry - Flexible Working
Sarah is a Principal Lecturer in the Animal and Equine Science department.
Sarah works full-time in a role that doesn’t always fall within the traditional nine to five, which suits her. Her husband works in a full-time role as well and they need to make sure that they can be there for their young children. To be able to put her children on the school bus and pick them up from after-school clubs is an important part of the children’s routine for Sarah, and flexible working is a key way of giving employees the chance to fulfil parental roles, “It gives me the flexibility to feel like a mum.”
It doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement, but an understanding between the employer and employee that it can be flexible as and when family or your personal life needs it.
As a working mum it would be a lot harder for Sarah to balance homelife with work without the opportunity to work flexibly. “The fact that Nottingham Trent University allows you to do that, helps you feel valued and appreciative of what you have with your employer. This can help tremendously – to have an employer that understands that people, not just parents, have other responsibilities in life that affect their wellbeing.” As well as giving Sarah the opportunity to be there for her children, it also means that the family saves money as they do not need to put the children in additional after school clubs, lessening another pressure on working parents.
“Making sure that you value having flexible working is so important” says Sarah. Seeing more people in senior roles working flexibly at Nottingham Trent University is great and sends a positive message to Sarah and others. Parity amongst colleagues and making all feel valued is something Sarah feels strongly about. “The flexibility that I have benefited from is also something that the staff I manage have to be able to benefit from. It’s important that as a Line Manager I consider what’s best for my Line Manager and what will work for them. Different people have different needs and it’s important that you trust them to make decisions about that."
Sarah wants to pass on the understanding that she has received from her own Manager to those that she manages. Parity can be hard at times as some roles can mean that it is harder to work flexibly, Sarah is conscious that people in those roles need to be supported too and Managers need to look at ways to help them.
Making flexible working effective is down to communication – being clear on where you are and when you are contactable. Making use of technology such as Skype for Business to have meetings if you are not in the office can really help.
There are certain key meetings that Sarah feels it’s important for her and others to attend as this helps people see the team together, but those meetings are scheduled through applying the principle of NTU's Athena SWAN initiative for ‘code of practice’ hours between 10am to 4pm.
You still have to deliver in your role and so you have to be flexible yourself depending on what projects may be happening and what the Department needs, such as covering a colleague’s absence. This holistic flexibility is greatly beneficial to everyone.