When there’s more to life, flex.
by Sam Burton | Operations Manager, Utility Solutions Practice, Infrastructure
03 January 2019
We agree with Sam. Work can be fulfilling, but not the ‘be all and end all’ — her passion lies in making a difference to other people’s lives. Read how flexible working at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin group, makes it possible for Sam to #giveback and follow her dreams.
In my role I work with clients and manage teams to deliver our Utility Search and Map service. I’m also heavily involved in staff development and training. As a people’s person, it’s a career that I really enjoy – and I love that I can do it part time. Besides making it possible to be present for my son, I also have the freedom to pursue interests that are important to me, like volunteering and studying to be a counsellor. Being able to work flexibly ensures I’m not just a mum – but also ‘Sam’.
My flexible life
My weeks are packed doing very different activities. But I love them and find them all rewarding in different ways. I work at the Atkins business on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Mondays I set time aside for coursework and CPD as well as the necessary housework! And on Wednesday I do an hour or two’s volunteering and spend time with my son. Weekends are strictly for chilling out with family – aka football, if my seven year old has anything to do with it!
A passion for #givingback
I’ve always enjoyed helping others. The first time I ever volunteered was when I moved to a new town. I thought it would be a great way to make new friends and settle in. I absolutely loved it and now volunteering has become part of my life.
Working for Age UK
Age UK is a charity very close to my heart because they supported a relative, who has now sadly passed away. The difference their work made to our lives was immense, it moved me to see if I could give back to them. I’m proud to say I’m now one of their Wellbeing Volunteers. I visit a client once a week and help her to make goals and plans that get her out of the house. We’ve built up a great relationship: I’m there to listen when she has worries, and I can say that I’ve enabled her to enjoy time out and about!
Inspired to take up counselling
As a result of working with people, I’ve become more and more interested in ‘why’ we do the things we do. Friends and colleagues have always told me that I’m a welcome support and a good listener. I feel that I have helped a lot of people over the years, both inside and outside work. Wanting to expand on this skillset was how I came to study counselling.
The flexible working culture at the Atkins business was incredibly supportive when I did my first course. For 12 weeks I was able to swap one of my office days so I could attend classes and hit the books. I’m looking forward to going on to the next level of training, which will be a bit more intensive.
Happy at home, motivated at work
Atkins believes that if people feel happy in their personal lives, they’ll be able to give so much more at work. And it’s true! Although I love it, my career can’t possibly meet all my ‘needs’ – but at Atkins I’m free to fulfil them elsewhere. Through this I’m also always expanding my skills and networking opportunities.
So much has been written about flexible workers experiencing ‘flexible guilt’. As a business Atkins makes employees feel valued. We’ve built up a good team that supports each other and makes good communication possible. Every team member always follows through on commitments, so if we ever need to swap days the business is very accommodating, and it works both ways. So there’s no need to feel bad when you are not in the office.
‘If you can dream it, you can do it’
I love this quote by Walt Disney. It sums up how I feel about where I want to go in my work/life. There are so many things I want to achieve, and they are possible with the right balance. Thank you Atkins!
Interested in reading more about our flexible working options? Click here.
Newcastle upon Tyne