A senior auditor on four days a week

Becky Shepherd’s role as a senior auditor at Roche is very international and the flexibility she has to do it benefits both her family and her employer.


As a senior auditor at pharmaceutical company Roche Becky Shepherd’s role and team are very international. That international element lends itself to a more flexible culture and flexibility in turn makes for a diverse team of all ages and work patterns.

Becky says that mix works very well for everyone and for Roche.

Becky has been working at Roche for 12 years since she graduated from university. She started in safety operations, but for the last seven years she has worked on audits and audit preparations.

Becky has two children, aged five and two. She took 10 months maternity leave with her first child and went down to three days a week while she was working in the safety group. She then moved to the quality group and increased to four days a week due to the demands of the role.

“I was happy to change my hours and excited by the role,” she says. “It was only after I started that I realised that four days actually worked better for me and gave me a better work life balance. On three days in a split week I don’t think I was achieving my best at home or at work. I don’t feel as exhausted as I would if I did five days and I can have a special day with my children when I can switch off from work.”

Flexible hours

Roche’s core hours are 10am to 4pm. Around those hours there is a lot of flexibility.  Becky tends to work from 8.30am to 4.30 or 5pm, but she can flex her hours if she wants to and under Roche’s flexible office working scheme she can sign up to work a percentage of the working day at home. “It’s very flexible. It works very well for me as an international auditor working across different time zones,” she says.

Normally she works one or two days a week from home, depending on what she has on. She has a work mobile phone and a lot of meetings are done via video call on Google hangouts. Employees manage their own time and are trusted to do so.

Becky spends four or five days away on audit every four to six weeks. In return she gets a lot of flexibility to prepare and if she has been travelling a lot she can choose to work more from home.

She has a lot of control over her travel arrangements and tries to get back on a Thursday so she can have Fridays at home with the children. If she does a five-day week away she gets time off in lieu the following week.

She is also fortunate that her husband has a very flexible job and can pick his own hours, something that is useful when she is away. Her mother-in-law lives also nearby and helps with childcare.

Parenting network

Becky is a member of Roche’s Google+ parenting network, an online community where parents share articles and advice.

She is also working with the Diversity and Inclusion group in Welwyn, where she is based, on how to improve support for parents.

She adds that her own work life balance as a parent is also an issue she can discuss openly with her manager.  She has regular one to ones with her line manager and they touch on everything from well being to career development.

All of this means Becky feels very loyal to Roche. “Something would have to be terribly wrong for me to leave,” she says.

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