My Work-Life Experience
Kopal’s early foray into flexible working began with the birth of her daughter. As a working mother returning from maternity leave, she was looking for solutions that would help her achieve her career goals while still being present and available to her family. As she weighed her options, it was her manager who first suggested that she consider the possibility of a flexible work arrangement rather than leave her job altogether. “Over the next few years, I tried staggered working hours and part-time work among other FWAs”.
Kopal experience has been that when it comes to FWAs, “one size does not fit all”. For individuals who are considering FWAs for themselves, Kopal suggests having personal clarity on your objectives for working flexibly, then formulating a plan and talking to HR or your manager to explore the options available to you. “You must be willing to take the first step. If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. In her own experience, HR is often open to discuss the possibilities when approached.
Kopal’s extensive flexible working experience has had a knock-on effect. Having experienced the positive impact of FWAs on her own personal work-life effectiveness, Kopal has made it a priority to champion these working arrangements, particularly amongst other working parents. In a previous supervisory role, she convinced a working mother to embark on an FWA as a way to meet family and work goals, rather than leaving the workforce. This helped the company to retain a good employee and helped kick-start yet another employee’s FWA journey.
Kopal has noticed an encouraging shift in mindset about FWAs as flexible work becomes more commonplace.
“Workplaces and colleagues are more open to the idea of FWAs, and employees who are on such an arrangement are encouraged to share their work schedule with others.”
Kopal also believes that “flexibility cuts both ways”. Even as the employer is accommodating of one’s personal responsibilities, she shares that there have been peak periods at work when she has had to put in additional time and effort to meet targets.
Kopal envisions a future workplace where life and work are seamlessly intertwined, and individuals can achieve their best at work and in their personal lives.