#GenderFlexGap

David Pich

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My first leadership role was at Hewlett-Packard in the UK in the very early 90s. Back then HP led the way in terms of what might be termed ‘progressive corporate culture’. The legendary HP Way wasn’t just a document that gathered dust on the desks of HP’s management, it was a cultural approach that recognised the importance of sound leadership in the achievement of business strategy. As a young HR Manager, I was star-struck by the HP Way! It represented my first exposure to rather alien concepts like office-free workplaces, management by walking around, cascading communication and, of course, flexible working. 

I saw – and experienced – firsthand the positive impact that flexible working had on employee satisfaction and motivation, and of course, on business outcomes. I became and remain a huge advocate. 

Of course, much has changed in the workplace over the 30-odd years since my days at Hewlett-Packard. But what has remained constant is my view that sound leadership is grounded on the understanding of what drives individual employees. One size doesn’t fit all, and this applies to the working day (or night!) and the location, environment and hours that offer the best opportunity for our staff to do and be their best. 

In my own case, I find the idea of rigid working conditions really quite horrifying! I’m an out and proud morning person. Give me a 4am start and an early finish and I’m at my very best. 

The Institute of Managers and Leaders advocates for intentional leadership, and a key aspect of this is the creation of a healthy corporate culture, and flexibility lies at the very heart of this.

Blake Woodward

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I am a first time dad, a management consultant and founder of suittiestroller.com - a website supporting corporate dads in finding work life balance while raising a family, as well as advocating for gender-equal parental leave and support policies. I took 9 months off in my son’s first year and currently work 4 days a week now that my wife and I are both back at work.

Adopting flexible working arrangements have enabled me to be an involved dad. This means assuming responsibilities of daycare drop off, being home to cook dinner and having play time before putting my child to bed. It also means reimagining the possibilities of how and when I work with my team and clients to get the job done.

Becoming a dad has transformed how I view the world and what motivates me at work and in life more broadly. I am passionate about encouraging working dads to challenge the traditional corporate mindset, and equipping them to make important decisions for balancing and sustaining career and family life. Flexible working enables me to attain the personal fulfillment that comes from being both a loving, actively involved dad, while continuing to pursue a demanding and rewarding career.