Celebrating International Women’s Day; why the interim lifestyle is championing a healthy work-life balance

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Why the interim lifestyle is championing a healthy work-life balance

Grant Speed, Managing Director of Odgers Interim, talks to interim managers Kate Farley and Milly Camley about how they have utilised the interim lifestyle to achieve a successful work-life balance

“If you spend all your time at work, you don’t get involved in their lives,” Kate Farley said as she told me about how becoming an interim manager had enabled her to spend more time with her teenage children.

“As they get into their teens, the difficulties crop up around social media, bullying and exams. By just spending more time at home you get a better understanding of their lives. Teenagers don’t come to you with problems, so by being around more you get to know them well enough to see things and proactively help them through difficult periods,” Kate said, “if I worked a normal work week, I wouldn’t have seen the periods when they were struggling.”

Kate is currently an interim housing consultant at Orbit Housing Group. Her previous assignments for Odgers Interim have included interim housing services director at Origin Housing Group and interim change programme director at Aldwyck Housing Group. As an interim, Kate typically works a three to four day work week that she can structure around her family and personal life. If needs be, she can work five days one week and three days the next.

Being an interim doesn’t just have a positive impact on an individual’s work-life balance; it also affects the quality of the work they deliver. “Interim work gives me a greater ability to set work boundaries and means that for those four days I am at work, I can throw myself into it and put 100% into the job,” Kate said.

Achieving such a life-style is, in part, a result of how employers perceive interim managers. They are a flexible resource that is there – more often than not – to achieve a certain set of deliverables or change outcomes. As a results-oriented role, there is less concern around when and how often an interim needs to be in the office, so long as those results are delivered.  

It’s a level of flexibility that fits with Milly Camley’s expertise. As a senior strategy and communications expert, Milly’s roles can often require working outside of the typical nine-to-five, including managing reputation and working with senior stakeholders; thus the expectations from both the client and the interim side are of flexibility to meet the requirements of the assignment from the start. Flexibility is reinforced when perimeters are set from the start – this is  something that Odgers Interim will arrange on-behalf of any interims we place.

Milly has recently taken up a permanent role, but has undertaken a number of interim assignments, including at the London Borough of Brent, Watford Borough Council, the Big Lottery Fund and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. “By working as an interim I can take half-terms off, choose when I want to work and when I want to spend time with my family,” Milly told me, “so by being an interim you can spend time with your family and gain all the benefits of working and pursuing a careers.” 

Milly moved into the interim world after the birth of her second child. It gave her the flexibility she wanted at the same time as meeting her expectations around how she wanted to work, which was about delivering change and improvement at pace, rather than traditional working models.

This is a critically important aspect of interim management; by bringing on-board a flexible, results-driven employee, both private and public sector organisations are meeting the need for more agile resources whose mind-set enables them react to changes and deliver objectives at pace. Not only can the interim life-style provide a much healthier work-life balance, it can make organisations far more productive as well.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day we also speak about balance for better across the world. To download a copy of our Odgers Berndtson global #BalanceforBetter supplement, filled with views, interviews and insights from across our network, click here.


John Bridges at 27/03/2019 13:36 said:

Great article - and having time off normally between assignments across the country also helps with family time and work/life balance.

Interesting too that all organisations want the flexibility and agile benefit of Interims, but the Govt. plans to roll out disastrous IR35 laws to the private sector shortly. Confused!!

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