Flexible working has always been a key part in making Metro Bank inclusive and supportive

Emma Perham Metro Bank
October 23, 2023

My first experience of motherhood started in a bit of a whirlwind. When I was just over eight weeks away from my due date, my waters suddenly broke late one evening and we rushed into hospital. Just over two days later, at 32 weeks into my pregnancy, my daughter Charlotte came into the world by emergency C-section, weighing just 3.5lbs. The reason for her premature birth was unknown, and the moment she came into the world the midwives took her away to check her over – she spent the first three weeks of her life in a neo-natal unit. It was quite a surreal experience and luckily, she has grown into a now healthy three-year-old. 

During the early stage of my maternity leave, I started thinking about how I would juggle being a parent with a busy career when I returned to work. By this stage, I had been at Metro Bank for almost eight years, joining as a Local Business Manager before becoming a Local Director and was always very career focused. During one of my ‘keeping in touch’ days, I asked my manager whether I could reduce my working hours and work a four-day week. He suggested instead a compressed week – working five days in the space of four. I was delighted at this suggestion, as not only did it enable me to spend some time with my daughter and give me a better work/life balance, but it would also help from a financial perspective with nursery fees, which can often cost as much as a mortgage!

Upon my return to work, I quickly realised that with my new working pattern I would need to ensure I continued to not only be very organised and structured with my week, but also ensure that my customers and team weren’t impacted during the one day I wasn’t working. As my role is predominantly customer-facing, I always strive to have a ‘model’ week set up with a plan for my time that means all parts of my role are balanced – such as customer meetings, time with my team, and time for admin. My four longer days enable me to balance tasks effectively.

Metro Bank has always been extremely supportive of my and others’ flexible working pattern. From my own experience, I believe this has a positive impact on colleague wellbeing, as well as productivity and job satisfaction. Our culture and values around flexible working have always been a key part in making Metro Bank inclusive and supportive, embracing equality and adaptability which in turn both supports colleagues and makes them feel more engaged, especially those working less traditional hours.

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