Can Women Truly Achieve Work-Life Balance?

By: Alexandra Wright
Commercial Bid Manager

8th March 2019

Home » Equality

Finding the right employer who can support an evolving home life as well as providing the right career progression can be a challenge. Yet, getting the right work-life balance is essential to maintaining good health, improved wellbeing, and sustaining a happy home. In today’s society it’s difficult to achieve the correct balance, especially when, for many of us, the line between work and home is so blurred. Increased technology advances means we are always connected and expected to be available 24/7.

For me, having an enjoyable job, which offers career progression, and allows me to spend time with my children is my ultimate aim. Getting this right is tough and inevitably compromises need to be made.

Just over a year ago  I decided I needed something new, the ‘work’ element in my life was stagnant and I was in search of a new challenge. I took the plunge and accepted a job as Commercial Bid Manager at Plextek.

Making it happen

Plextek is an engineering consultancy at the heart of innovation. The work here is interesting and varied, which makes for some exciting yet challenging tenders. Plextek’s main assets are the talent and skills of its employees and this is recognised by the Senior Management team who invest vast amounts of time and money into personal development.

Starting here was daunting to begin with, it wasn’t just me who had to fit into the job, the job had to fit with my family. Changing a job is always risky, especially when you have dependants. Based just south of Cambridge with easy access to major roads, my commute is relatively straight forward as I am able to whiz up and down the A14 between work and home with ease.

Plextek have been extremely accommodating of my family’s needs. Like 14% of employees here, I work part-time. I have also agreed flexible start and finish times depending on whether I’m doing the nursery drop off or pick up (which I share with my partner).

Due to the nature of my job, there are many occasions when I need to spend additional time on my work, to meet demanding deadlines. In these instances, I agree with my partner to do the nursery drop off, so I stay later in the office to get the job done. I’m fortunate to have a supportive family who I can rely on when my job needs me.

When my workload allows, I go running at lunch-time, with a group of other runners – it’s great to have the opportunity to get out. There are regular company-wide social events organised by the Plextek Social Committee, many of which encourage the inclusion of families, for example last year we had a Company Family day out to Go Ape which the kids loved.

Since joining Plextek I have become a member of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), which aids the continuation of my professional development. I’m aiming to take my APMP foundation course next month (which is long overdue!). It’s nice to have a supportive employer who encourages me to be my best and develop my talents.

Working here means I can now spend more quality time with my family. It is encouraged to ‘switch off’ after work and I no longer feel guilty when I leave the office on time to collect my children. They’ve recently introduced a new holiday policy which allows employees to buy an additional 5 days holiday per year – which I plan to take full advantage of (Center Parcs here we come!).

What really matters

Getting the right work-life balance is a continued challenge but finding an accommodating employer makes achieving a manageable equilibrium easier. Employees aren’t the only ones to benefit from a healthy work-life balance; research has shown that with improved work-life balance comes improved productivity.

Working for an equal opportunity employer and having a CEO who believes more female engineers are needed makes being a female, in a male-dominated industry, a step closer to being equal.

Thank you to Plextek for recognising the skills I have, supporting me as a working mum and making it possible for me to progress my career whilst maintaining a happy home life.

Marissa Mayer, Google’s first female software engineer in 1999 and a former president and CEO of Yahoo once said “You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you” and I believe Plextek has allowed me to have what really matters, a work-life balance.

Finding the right employer who can support an evolving home life as well as providing the right career progression can be a challenge. Yet, getting the right work-life balance is essential to maintaining good health, improved wellbeing, and sustaining a happy home. In today’s society it’s difficult to achieve the correct balance, especially when, for many of us, the line between work and home is so blurred. Increased technology advances means we are always connected and expected to be available 24/7.

For me, having an enjoyable job, which offers career progression, and allows me to spend time with my children is my ultimate aim. Getting this right is tough and inevitably compromises need to be made.

Just over a year ago  I decided I needed something new, the ‘work’ element in my life was stagnant and I was in search of a new challenge. I took the plunge and accepted a job as Commercial Bid Manager at a company called Plextek.

Making it happen

Plextek is an engineering consultancy at the heart of innovation. The work here is interesting and varied, which makes for some exciting yet challenging tenders. Plextek’s main assets are the talent and skills of its employees and this is recognised by the Senior Management team who invest vast amounts of time and money into personal development.

Starting here was daunting to begin with, it wasn’t just me who had to fit into the job, the job had to fit with my family. Changing a job is always risky, especially when you have dependants. Based just south of Cambridge with easy access to major roads, my commute is relatively straight forward as I am able to whiz up and down the A14 between work and home with ease.

Plextek have been extremely accommodating of my family’s needs. Like 14% of employees here, I work part-time. I have also agreed flexible start and finish times depending on whether I’m doing the nursery drop off or pick up (which I share with my partner).

Due to the nature of my job, there are many occasions when I need to spend additional time on my work, to meet demanding deadlines. In these instances, I agree with my partner to do the nursery drop off, so I stay later in the office to get the job done. I’m fortunate to have a supportive family who I can rely on when my job needs me.

When my workload allows, I go running at lunch-time, with a group of other runners – it’s great to have the opportunity to get out. There are regular company-wide social events organised by the Plextek Social Committee, many of which encourage the inclusion of families, for example last year we had a Company Family day out to Go Ape which the kids loved.

Since joining Plextek I have become a member of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), which aids the continuation of my professional development. I’m aiming to take my APMP foundation course next month (which is long overdue!). It’s nice to have a supportive employer who encourages me to be my best and develop my talents.

Working here means I can now spend more quality time with my family. It is encouraged to ‘switch off’ after work and I no longer feel guilty when I leave the office on time to collect my children. They’ve recently introduced a new holiday policy which allows employees to buy an additional 5 days holiday per year – which I plan to take full advantage of (Center Parcs here we come!).

What really matters

Getting the right work-life balance is a continued challenge but finding an accommodating employer makes achieving a manageable equilibrium easier. Employees aren’t the only ones to benefit from a healthy work-life balance; research has shown that with improved work-life balance comes improved productivity.

Working for an equal opportunity employer and having a CEO who believes more female engineers are needed makes being a female, in a male-dominated industry, a step closer to being equal.

Thank you to Plextek for recognising the skills I have, supporting me as a working mum and making it possible for me to progress my career whilst maintaining a happy home life.

Marissa Mayer, Google’s first female software engineer in 1999 and a former president and CEO of Yahoo once said “You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you” and I believe Plextek has allowed me to have what really matters, a work-life balance.