I became Institute Manager in 2013 and the Institute’s strong supportive culture and family friendly approach was clear right from the start. I have always had the flexibility to come into work later, leave earlier, or work at home whenever needed. All Institute meetings are scheduled for reasonable times, and that has also really helped, especially when I have so many to go to! In 2015 I went on maternity leave with my second child. Leading up to my finish date I had lots of medical appointments, which I was able to flexibly work around. During my maternity leave I made full use of keep in touch days and one day I was even able to bring Toby in and leave him with a colleague while I went to an important meeting. I also really benefitted from a month’s overlap with the person seconded to cover my role both before I went off and on my return.
This was hugely beneficial as I felt that everything was handed over well before I left. I was able to work part-time on my return for a few weeks to allow me to ease back into life as a working mum of now two young boys. My eldest son, Leo, started school whilst I was on maternity leave and it was really important to me that, having taken and picked him up from school for the past 7 months, my return to work didn’t have a negative impact on him. I’ve managed my diary to allow me to take him to school a couple of days a week and, although I am in later, the Institute supported my application for access to the carers car park which opens later and means I don’t have the added stress of finding a parking space. One day a week I also try to work at home if at all possible. I have so many meetings in the week, a full clear day with no commuting to get work done is fantastic and if I can put a load of washing on at lunch time it’s an added bonus!
Dr John Ankers
I have been a PhD student and Post Doc at the Institute since 2005. My son was born in December 2013 and I realised very quickly that I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could. After returning from paternity leave I enquired about reducing my hours to 0.8FTE – and I found both my PI and the IIB to be very supportive. Although the temptation to “work 5 days in the space of 4” was ever-present, and out-of-hours trips to the lab remained an essential part of my work, simply knowing my contract had changed improved my work-life balance hugely. In between endless, merciless nappy changes and extracting Duplo from the hidden depths of the couch, an extra day at home gave me renewed perspective and time to think. Ultimately I have this decision, the IIB and my PI to thank as the time has allowed me to make exciting plans for the future, further helped by funding awarded by the IIB’s Johnston Postdoctoral Development Fund.
I have worked as a full time technician in the Institute (previously School of Biological Sciences) for 23 years. In that time I have managed to acquire two grandchildren. My daughter is now a single parent and runs her own business. Given that we have no other family in the UK, childcare is a major issue for her. I am currently working my full-time hours over four days to allow an extra day in which I can contribute to the child care regimen - particularly important over the school holidays. I am extremely grateful both to my supervisor for agreeing to this arrangement and the workers in my lab who have adjusted to me being absent on a Monday. However I've discovered there are advantages to being in the lab out of hours, at each end of the day.