With Boris Johnson's recent announcement about the further easing of lockdown in the UK, I've been wondering whether companies that have proven they can facilitate working from home will continue to do so now we're heading out of the crisis.

The importance of flexible working was first brought home to me in 2016 when I went through breast cancer treatment.

I've always been very proud to work for a company that not only enables flexible working but actively encourages it. So long before I'd ever heard of the word Covid, I was given this choice, not just because it suits the company but also because it works for me.

I chose to work through my cancer treatment, sadly not something everybody is fortunate enough to do. Many people thought I was crazy to work, but it was the very thing I needed. However, I couldn't have done this if I hadn't worked with a team of people (including my boss, colleagues, and clients) who accepted that I might have bad days and valued the contribution I was able to make. I recall a client meeting in the park (thanks for the sandwich, James Little,) a conference call from my bed (not sure I admitted that one at the time) and lots of pyjama time.

My 5-year mammogram appointment was last week; perhaps another reason I'm reflecting on the importance of flexible working. Had working from home not been made so easy for me back when it really mattered, how different would things be now? The culture of trust and cooperation at TWM has enhanced my working life and nurtured my sense of being valued. Indeed, for me, it was no surprise that a recent objective diagnosis of company culture from the world-renowned Barrett Values Centre placed TWM in the highest category.

I know circumstances don't stay the same forever. Things change, and I need to be flexible, too; but the important thing is being open and encouraging discussion. This has had a knock-on effect on how I manage my team, actively encouraging people to discuss the work patterns that best suit them.

There's been a tremendous effort by so many people to keep the cogs turning during the recent lockdowns. Companies, where possible, should continue to facilitate choice, including working from home. And not just because a return to the office could cause a third wave, but because it is the right thing to do.

If you'd like to start a conversation about how you too can put the people at the centre of your business, get in touch!

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