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Balance for Better – career progression while keeping a work-life balance

08 March 19

Balance for Better – career progression while keeping a work-life balance

When I was on maternity leave with my son way back in 2005, I couldn’t face going back to my job. I worked for a consultancy and was based wherever they located us…not really conducive when you have a young baby!

So, when my son was five months old, I started searching for a new job and applied for two opportunities that were both advertised as full-time. One of the companies was pretty much within walking distance of my house and the other at Affinity Water (Three Valleys Water as it was known back then).

The local company called me for an interview but when I said I was only looking for a part-time role they weren’t interested in interviewing me. As a result, when I was contacted by Affinity, I decided not to mention about only wanting to work part-time.

I had quite a rigorous interview process, one of which was a presentation in the board room of Bishops Rise to an audience of ten!

Cutting a long story a bit shorter, as this is going on a bit, I was offered the role at Affinity at the end of the interview process and that’s when I asked about working part-time. My future boss at the time supported my request, saying she’d prefer to have me part-time than not at all!

My drive to work was and still is only 15 minutes – it gave me the flexibility to drop my son at nursery in the mornings and collect him at the end of the day; have enough time to make him a fresh dinner and use the days I wasn’t working to take him to music classes and Willows Farm! Over 13 years later, I have a 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, and am working full-time again, though not at the expense of my family life.

Throughout my time with the company, the support I’ve received from Affinity has enabled me to progress upwards whilst working a combination of part-time and full-time hours in my different roles. This has enabled me to balance my time between work and home life, and to support my children as their needs change with age. I’ve experienced tragedies over the years – both personally and within the company (as I’m sure we all have) – which has taught me to never regret things or think “what if”, but to always look forward and strive to learn and achieve new things.

This experience is one that I’m now fully aware of when supporting people in my team to achieve their own work-life balance, whether they have a young family or other care commitments. I strongly believe that people undoubtedly feel more valued through this approach, and, as a result, they’re more motivated to contribute positively in their individual jobs and to wider company life.

- Lauren Schogger

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