“I’m conscious I’m one of the first wave of men doing this”
Ollie Cheal, 34, works in sales for Cisco, supporting a major client as they try to digitise their business whilst managing cyber security risks.
He works fulltime and has to customise his work schedule around the needs of his client. And he’s in the process of taking six weeks off – spaced over a few months – as shared parental leave.
Ollie’s wife runs her own business, so the fact Ollie can take this time and become fulltime carer intermittently, means she can keep her business turning over.
Ollie said: “I plan my own time, so I knew I’d be extremely busy for a few months then August would be quiet. It made perfect sense for me and Cisco to take three weeks of parental leave then, supporting my wife’s career and spending brilliant time with my son in the process.
“My manager and Cisco in general have been really supportive. They’re great at promoting flexible working whether or not you have children.
“Traditionally, IT Sales has been fairly male dominated and dads haven’t always found it too easy to be involved in childcare. I’m conscious I’m one of the first wave of men doing this and the practical reality still attracts occasional comments from people in the industry.
“Things are definitely changing in the industry, especially at Cisco, with more women in sales and more fathers like me wanting a slightly different work life balance. I’m proud to be leading the way than just going with accepted practice.”