“To me, flexible working is the most powerful way so far that PwC have supported women in leadership, it sends a signal to the market that flexible working does not mean ‘ not working’.”
One way Fiona Wilhelm embraces flexibility is by working one day a week from home. The time she saves on travel to work gives her the opportunity to walk her daughter to daycare in the morning which, for her, is so important to ensuring she feels connected.
“Working from home one day a week helps me to feel more grounded and makes me want to give 110%.”
As a Manager within PwC, Fiona is mindful that the conversation around flexible work needs to be an open and transparent one. She leads by example and works hard to ensure other employees are comfortable talking about what works best for them.
“One of the biggest challenges when it comes to working flexibly is knowing what is acceptable within your work culture. It is really important for Managers and Partners to set the standard. In my case, they have and as a result our team is incredibly agile and communicates openly about our diaries and arrangements.”
As a passionate advocate for flexible work, Fiona recently started a parent support group for her team which has now rolled out across the whole of Consulting. The group has been a really successful way for parents and prospective parents to knowledge share around flexible working, taking maternity/paternity leave, getting back to work after the arrival of children and juggling parenting with work. The group has fuelled the conversation on how best to support women back into the workplace and into leadership positions, which is a key priority for the firm.
Here are Fiona’s top 5 tips for working flexibly:
- Choose one day a week to work from home as you’re more likely to make it work ongoing and your team will get used to it.
- Be clear with your team about your commitments outside of work. This means that you can work together to find times that work for both your team and the client. In our team we send calendar invites when we are planning to work from home as a courtesy and a reminder.
- Make it work for you. In the parent support group, we heard from new Dad’s on how they juggled parenthood and work. One Dad said he ‘bookends’ his day so he doesn’t do meetings before 9 or after 5 and was home by 6pm to bath his son. Another dad said he looked 14 days ahead and blocked out time in his diary, such as before a flight, where he could be at home and spend quality time with his 1 year old.
- Schedule in time for the things that are important to you and manage your time around this i.e. Gym or spending time with your family. You will feel better for it.
- Utilise technology to remain accessible. It is really important to check in and give regular updates. In our team we use Google Hangouts or dial in using VC for meetings. We also use Google docs to collaborate and share information. This way, we can continue to stay connected, no matter where we are – whether that is on a client site or working from home! The more we do this, the more fluid it becomes
Fiona Wilhelm is the Digital Demand Driver of PwC’s Experience Centre, a unique blend of the best of agency and consultancy practice, where we help our clients to understand their toughest problems and solve them through the creation of positive and innovative customer experiences. With the increasing demands of a busy work and home life, Fiona finds that PwC’s All Roles Flex policy gives her the opportunity to do her best work as both a parent, wife and employee.