Going the extra mile


A franchisor in the male-dominated automobile sector is not where you might look for a good example of an employer who goes the extra mile for working mums.

But Rachel Mackay who works in human resources for award-winning Autosmart says the franchisor, which supplies vehicle cleaning products globally through an international network of franchises, has allowed her to work flexibly to accommodate her five year old son James. In return she is prepared to return the flexibility, thanks to great childcare support.

Rachel, who also has a 16-year-old stepson, has been at Autosmart for 15 years and now works on average 27 hours a week. She did more hours before James started school, but Autosmart has allowed her to start a little bit later so she can take him to preschool club.

The Staffordshire-based franchise, whose franchisees operate out of mobile showrooms, recently was recently named gold winner of the bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Award.

Rachel says part of the reason she can adapt to her employer’s shifting demands are the holiday club and after school care run by Derby council. The service is very flexible and she can vary the days and hours she uses it to suit her working week at short notice.

Rachel, whose husband is often working away from home, thinks it is vital for working mums to talk to their employer about their situation if they want flexible hours. But she advises that they need to be realistic about how many hours they can sensibly do, rather than taking on too much and finding it impossible to keep up.

She adds that it is vital to plan ahead at work. She says: “By working smartly, you can be so much more efficient.”

Her tips for doing that include trying to plan important meetings for the middle of the day when you are less likely to be interrupted by childcare problems.

She’s also a big fan of using the commute to work time as ‘me time’ when you can catch up with family and friends or just enjoy the peace and quiet.

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