August 12 2021

Simply adding ‘flexible working available’ on a job description doesn’t cut it anymore

With media spotlight on the low numbers of women working in tech, all parents and especially mums, need access to a real work – life balance.

Senior Business Analyst Sarah Toulson breaks down why she put FluidIT forward for the best tech place to work in the Leeds Digital Festival Awards.

This isn’t just about being the best place to work, it is about being the best place to work for everyone. In an environment where the pandemic forced people to work from their homes, businesses have had to quickly adapt to new technology and ways of working. FluidIT saw opportunity to change how the workplace looks and feels for the tech worker. Without judgement or pressure, they have fully adopted a 'what's best for the employee' approach.

The cost of working

A few years ago I felt I had no option but to leave my profession as a Business Analyst. I was out of pocket by £1.50 a day after childcare and travel expenses, I was paying to keep my career afloat. My husband was the higher wage earner and frequently worked away from home. I was the one looking after our two young boys and caring for my parents and grandparents who needed health support at that time.

My company offered limited flexibility, no option for remote working and I felt like there was no appetite to support a female head of house. The costs of working were too high. The career I loved was slipping out of my grasp.

A breath of fresh air at FluidIT

Fast forward two years and a former colleague, who was looking to help expand a new team in an exciting, quickly growing digital tech consultancy, contacted me and asked me to come to work with them.

The entire landscape had changed but my fears and my home commitments hadn’t. What a breath of fresh air. FluidIT’s plan was always to encourage clients to embrace an off-site culture but the pandemic helped to prove the theory worked. It was clear this company was out to change the narrative, to push business to a different level, it felt new and energetic and I wanted to be a part of it.

Prefer to work at home? No problem. Want a swish office to sit at instead? Here you go. Want a hybrid? We’ve got your back. The message was, “We want you to work for us and we will do anything to make it work for you”. I felt so valued and empowered.

Job share, home working, flexible hours

What does this mean to me? It means I’m able to find a balance between pursuing the career I love along with balancing commitments with my family. I work part time, along with another BA, and we work closely together, sharing work load and handling huge projects between us with ease.

I choose to work mainly from home which means I don’t have to pay for a commute or childcare for my children. My working day begins after the school run, when my head is firmly on the job at hand.

A richly diverse tech workforce includes mums

What does this mean for FluidIT? It means they attract and retain a diverse team of passionate tech workers, who love their job, and are keen to invest themselves. They understand that their employees all have different needs and to get the best from them, they adapt. It means they develop a culturally rich environment where men and women represent and contribute equally. It means they lead by example in a world where part-time is seen as a lack of commitment. It generates loyalty and means mums in the tech world have the opportunity to come back with determination.

FluidIT quickly became my home. My skills would have been lost had I felt I had to make a decision between my family and my work life. We need to highlight how the decisions of businesses like this and the way they recruit and promote their flexible working arrangements can have such a positive impact on diversity in the workplace and the mental health of all its employees, women and men alike.

People should work to live, not the other way around. When we work, we need to be in a company like FluidIT who put the employee at the heart of their business. I’ve nominated FluidIT because I want to highlight this, and winning the award, may help other organisations recognise the value in changing what we think a working week looks like.

Simply adding ‘flexible working available’ on a job description doesn’t cut it anymore. We need clear language and clear expectations for our employees. Otherwise how else do we encourage women back into tech?

Sarah

Sarah Toulson

Senior Business Analyst