The reward of rhythm when you have work/life balance
“When I was at my interview to join EY, I asked the female Partner who was interviewing me – what made you stay at EY? Part of her answer was about being able to work flexibly and to travel, which sparked my interest” says Financial Services Office Partner and EY Oceania D&I Committee Chair, Clare Sporle.
The interview took place when Clare was about to Graduate in London, four years later an opportunity for a secondment to Sydney became available and 17 years later Clare is still here.
Flexibility became even more important to Clare three years into her Partnership when she became pregnant. Returning from Parental leave Clare moved to a four day week and has been doing this ever since. ”It was important for me to make the formal flexibility arrangement work. I wanted to make sure that Wednesdays are dedicated to my children – so I saw it as a leadership challenge – I stepped back to think what will be the friction points to making this work and how do I actively manage them. Having great teams working with me has been key.”
Clare, whose clients are generally CFO’s, has also become inventive in how she approaches meetings, to make the most of the time that she does have with her clients. ”With a number of my clients I have my monthly catch ups as a walking meeting, as I believe exercise is important, and it has an extremely positive impact on the direction of the discussion and the relationship that you build.”
By being inventive with workplace choices and having a strict adherence to formal flexibility Clare feels that she is achieving a great work/life balance. “It was surprising how quickly my teams and clients got into the rhythm of understanding that I do not work Wednesdays. Inevitably people sometimes forget that you work flexibly, so it is important to have a voice and remind people of your hours. You also need to use that voice to continue to receive the right experiences to further your career, and to ensure you do not take on more than your fair share for your wellbeing.”