Best for flexible working

Kelly Cary talks to workingmums.co.uk about what it’s like to work for design, engineering and project management organisation AtkinsRéalis, the firm which won this year’s WM People Top Employer Award for Best for Flexible Working.

Headshot of Kelly Cary

 

Kelly Cary is Associate Director at AtkinsRéalis which won this year’s WM People Top Employer Award for Best for Flexible Working. She  has worked flexibly since returning from her first period of maternity leave in 2014, initially working three days per week before moving to a term-term only working arrangement when her eldest child started school. Maintaining her 24 hours a week and only being contracted to work term time really enabled Kelly to fit work in around her family commitments and, as she describes it, ‘have the best of both worlds’. 

“My working pattern and flexibility means other parent friends are always amazed by what we offer here – and in the engineering industry too! Obviously, there is a financial impact, but my annual salary is split equally over 12 months, so even when I’m off for the longer summer holiday period, my salary is the same as every other month which helps with financial planning. Plus, I have saved a fortune on holiday clubs over the years, so it all evens itself out.”

She adds: “I do feel very lucky to be able to work in this way as it means I get to spend valuable time with my children (whilst they still want me to!), not to mention regular time away from work which has huge benefits. Having regular periods of time off really helps me to re-set; I come back to work after a week or two off with the kids and feel motivated and ready to go again – it’s great for my wellbeing.”

Promotion

Kelly has also continued to develop her career as she has wanted to, receiving senior promotions whilst working term time. She says: “I can honestly say there’s never been any challenge when I’ve wanted to change my working pattern to accommodate my family or my own personal needs.”

For a year, Kelly also opted to work for six hours a week at a local school, providing some additional support in the classroom to help children catch up after Covid, which meant she needed to flex her working pattern to enable her to do this. She says: “My manager was totally on board with it. It was brilliant to be able to go and support our local school and do something different without it having a detrimental impact on my career at AtkinsRéalis.”

She adds: “The flexibility I’ve had has been incredible, and it will certainly keep me at AtkinsRéalis as I know from other parents that not all companies are as flexible as we are.”

*Kelly features in the WM People Best Practice Report based on the WM People Top Employer Award winners. It is published next month. Click here to request a copy.



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