How flexible working empowers Julian to ‘be the change.’
Julian Brett | Senior Lighting Engineer
21 February 2019
To Julian, “A successful and rewarding community, means working together to make things better for everyone.” Flexible working has empowered him to combine his passion for upliftment with his love of the water, and to make a difference to people around him.
The flexibility to make a difference
The wellbeing of my community is very important to me. It’s all about pulling together, sharing skills and improving for now and the future. I’ve always wanted to be involved in sailing, boating and the ocean. Without my informal flexible working arrangement at the Atkins business, it’s unlikely that I would be able to be involved in much of what I do now until I had retired. I’m now 56, so it has given me the opportunity for at least 10 years of extra involvement in things I love.
Preserving our nautical heritage
Flexing has also allowed me to gain a real sense of achievement after helping to create two clubs associated with the local river and its community. From nothing I helped to found the Rowhedge Coastal Rowing Club, which now tours nationally and internationally with a large group of members from the community.
I’m no longer involved with the rowing club but have started the Lion Quay Boat Club, where I serve as Vice Commodore. We help promote the use of the river and remind people of the nautical past of our village.
Some of my other river related voluntary roles include being on the Rowhedge Regatta Committee, Secretary for the Rowhedge Moorings Association and Water Bailiff for East Donyland Parish Council (EDPC).
Professional skills and community life
I’ve been able to use many of my engineering-related skills for my voluntary roles. I wrote both clubs’ constitutions, drawing on my report writing experience. I’ve also written a number of Risk Assessments which are, from time to time, required to run river activities and club social events. I deal with local authorities now and again which is something I also do at work, so I have the confidence to negotiate and develop meaningful partnerships with them.
Flexibility to go with the flow
Because our river is tidal there are times when I need to be at the riverfront at high or low tide. Flexible working gives me the opportunity to do this. I also have a number of short meetings throughout the year with other authorities and it allows me to arrange these at times that are convenient with them.
My flexible days
I wake up just after 6am and the first thing I do is check my emails for any work issues. I’m also a voluntary Footpaths Officer for EDPC. So next I do one of my favourite activities – walking the dog and inspecting the local footpaths. After that I get back to work.
If I have any day time meetings for any groups that I’m involved with, I try to work from home, pop out to attend then get back to work. My line manager, colleagues and the company as a whole are fully supportive of my work style. Modern working practices, such as remote meetings, conference calls and cloud access to documents mean I don’t miss too much.
Feeling rewarded in and out of work
I feel more enthused about my work life because I know it’s not stopping me from doing things that I value. It’s something that I believe has come directly from flexible working. The reward of living a purposeful social and community life is reflected in my performance at work. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to spread my time across my business and personal life. Thank you Atkins!
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