Caroline Wood

“I returned to work after a two year break to focus on my children and it was harder than I’d anticipated. There was a real lack of options for my level, which offered any kind of flexibility, but then a job came up at Mencap, who are a very progressive employer.

I found someone that I jelled with and we decided to job share – a completely new concept to me. It’s great for employers as you effectively get two heads for the price of one. My job share partner and I work fixed days each week, but we have built in flexibility so that we can respond to business and personal needs when they arise.

She is currently on maternity leave so I am working full-time, but flexibly, so that two days a week I can pick my boys up from school. Full-time felt daunting at first, but Mencap genuinely puts the needs of its employees first, trusts them to be professionals and get the work done. That approach has made all the difference and I’m surprised more employers haven’t cottoned on to the fact that a better work/life balance ultimately makes people more productive.

You have to be very organised, but it’s incredibly empowering and my team has adjusted well. They know that I am available if something crucial comes up, but they respect the time I need to spend with my children. As well as being more focused and efficient at work, it’s been really positive for mine and my family’s wellbeing. My husband and I didn’t want to perpetuate old-fashioned gender stereotypes. We wanted our sons to grow up seeing us sharing parenting responsibilities alongside work, so that they experience gender equality as the social norm not the exception.”