How to embrace flexible working

EY were among the pioneers of the ‘flexible working’ concept – identifying that in order to get the best from your workforce you need to give, as well as take. We saw that working flexibly meant different things to different people – it was more than just the traditional idea of reduced hours for working mums.

Within EY, the flexible working ideal is ingrained in the diverse make-up of our employees. Among our staff we have part time professional athletes, authors, volunteers and carers who all benefit from working flexibly. Our people are encouraged to live a life outside of work and supported by the firm in making a work-life balance a reality. EY produced a website which explains how we have made it work for us as a firm, and provides guidance on how to make it work for you.

Our workplace is an ever-changing concept and technology has helped hugely in bringing people together, regardless of a physical base. The traditional view of working in an office has changed and nowadays your office can be anywhere. Hence, we have robust technology and numerous communication tools available to us at all times, regardless of location.

Whilst there is no doubt working flexibly works well for the individual, it must not come at the cost of doing your job well – you must consider the needs of your team and your clients. Adult conversations must be had and compromises will need to be made on occasion. In a team where many people work flexibly, it’s imperative that open and honest conversations are had, and diaries are managed responsibly. Keeping in touch is key, and EY have regular review conversations with those on flexible working schemes to make sure it still works for them and for the wider firm.

Top tips

  • Business case – Partners and Consultants alike need to make sure that the reason for wanting to work flexibly works with the need of the business. EY employees need to set out a business case to support the request and to think through the practicalities of how a flexible arrangement will work

  • Teaming - Make sure you are in touch with your team and know their diaries and plans. It’s important to work together to make sure work is delivered on time, regardless of location

  • Communication – Don’t let remote working make you feel remote! People work better in teams and feeling separate will dilute people’s enjoyment of working, their learning, and stress management. It’s important that even home based people have ‘keeping in touch days’ to stay involved with their colleagues

  • Make time zones work for you – I know of Senior Managers in the UK firm who work very internationally. They may use the ability to work flexibly to accommodate their overseas clients. This may mean early mornings or late nights, which can be worked around their personal and professional life

  • Be organised – having to attend a school assembly or a council meeting is just as important as an engagement deadline, but don’t forget to plan for either. Running out of the office at the last minute could affect output, so schedule your week and make sure deadlines are never missed.

Whether you work on a formal flexible working scheme, or something informal, the benefits of a well-managed programme are endless, whatever your personal situation. I know personally that if my life changes in the future, for any reason, EY will support me and allow me to continue in my role, working my hours in a way that suits me and the firm.

Career summary to date

I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2005 and went straight into a career in recruitment. I joined Hays initially and handled a number of high volume campaigns, assisting several businesses in setting up shared service centres in the North West.

I relocated to London after joining Reed and specialised in recruiting for property clients in London (a vast market) before joining EY two years ago. During my time at EY I have focused mainly on recruiting for the Advisory Practice and now work solely on the People Advisory Services team, recruiting for the Performance and Talent pillars.

Since being in this role I appreciate the value of getting to know your stakeholders and candidates, not only from a technical perspective, but personally and culturally. EY is not a ‘tick-box’ employer, there are many facets to what makes people successful here – it’s not just about having strong technical skills or being a great salesperson for example.

My expertise has for the majority, been in recruiting mid-senior level Management Consultants.. I have experience of the whole recruitment process, from writing job specifications and advertisements, to overseeing the on-boarding of successful candidates and negotiating offer details. I work with the People Advisory Services team in planning for each financial year, reviewing skills-gaps and growth opportunities and creating bespoke recruitment campaigns to accommodate these targets and help EY, as a firm, reach its ambitious growth targets.

Outside of EY I am a fair-weather runner! I have competed in 10k races and one (to date!) half marathon – but only when the weather is nice, and nowhere overly hilly. EY has a flexible working policy so if I wanted to attend a class/do a run in the morning/early evening, I am free to work from home that day and amend my hours so that work fits in around my other interests.

I am a member of several networks at EY including the Women’s Network and have attended many events, often chaired by or featuring, inspirational women from all walks of life.

An interesting fact…? When I was younger I appeared on children’s cooking programme with Ainsley Harriott. It didn’t go particularly well and I still pop up on ‘blooper’ shows as I sliced the top of my finger off mid-filming.....Ainsley said it, never work with children or animals!

 

  • Briony Turley

About the author

Briony joined EY in 2014 as a Recruitment Adviser. During her time with the firm, she has recruited for our Advisory practice and now works solely on the People Advisory Services team, recruiting for the Performance and Talent areas.