How we ‘work’ as a family
Barrie Allan, 43, from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, works fulltime as a director with the business advisory firm, Deloitte.
His wife, Alex, works four days a week as a director for a children’s publishing firm and the couple have two children, Niamh, 12, and Lucas, eight.
Barrie leaves work early on Wednesdays to allow him to pick up his son from an after-school club. He also works from home on average a day a month so he can attend school events, such as sports days, special assemblies and performances and buys extra holiday days to cover childcare when his wife travels for work.
He said: “My daughter recently had a major role in her primary school leavers’ assembly. It was an important moment for her and I wanted her to know that when she looked out into the audience, mum and dad were there supporting her.
“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I couldn’t have had this flexibility. My wife works too and this is how we ‘work’ as a family.
“We have the technology now to work remotely and remain connected. I always let people know where I’ll be and how to get hold of me. Often the school events only take between 30 minutes and an hour, so they’re the equivalent of taking a lunch break but they mean I can be the dad I want to be for my children.
“My wife travels about three times a year for work, which always presents a childcare challenge. But we can plan for it. We get help from family and friends and I can take extra holiday. It really eases the pressure. We’re both ambitious and enjoy our jobs. But it was important for us to find the right balance so we can raise our children alongside succeeding in the workplace.
“Being able to work in an agile way is really important to me. Fortunately, agile working is actively encouraged at Deloitte and not just for parents.”