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Working at Co-op as a parent in lockdown

My family and I really struggled with the first lockdown in March, but Co-op has been really flexible and supportive. After a chat with my manager, we worked together to agree a work pattern with enough flexibility to enable me to have a good work life balance, whilst ensuring that neither my work or home life suffered.

Making it work together

My manager has two pre-school children of his own, so understands the struggle parents have experienced with home-schooling during lockdown. We worked through each challenge together and managed to find solutions. The rest of the team have also been great, offering lots of support and assistance - we really have got through it together.

I feel lucky that Co-op’s policies enable adaptations to be made to work patterns for colleagues who need a little extra support. I can say from first-hand experience that when I’ve had challenges juggling work and childcare, solutions have invariably been found which have been acceptable to everyone.  If anything, I’ve been more productive, and the flexibility I've been given has helped me cope with the challenges I’ve faced during lockdown.  

A day in the life of a lockdown parent

Whilst in lockdown I secured a promotion and moved from working part time to full-time. My new role is less phone based which provides additional flexibility, but if I need to take a few minutes away from work, I just let my manager know and make up the time. If the children are being noisy, I adjust my approach to the day’s workload and tackle some admin jobs. When the kids are away, I use my time to take calls and use the telephone.

It’s been tough, and everyone in the team has had their own difficulties. But By being open, honest and understanding about the challenges we’re facing as a team, we’ve found a way through.

What I’ve been doing to improve my wellbeing

I try my best to get out for walk during lunchtime, which helps me spend a little more time with the children. If I was working at the office, I wouldn’t get the opportunity to see my kids this often, so I’m grateful for that.

I’m also open and honest to clients where required and highlight I’m working with from home. That way, they appreciate there maybe the odd noise in the background and understand my situation. This helps me manage expectations and keep things running smoothly. I find that being honest and upfront actually helps me build rapport with my clients, and find that many are having similar experiences.

Co-op is here to help

Knowing there’s help available from managers, HR, and colleague support programmes like Lifeworks has really helped. It’s okay to admit you need a hand. I asked for support, and I’m really glad I did. At Co-op, it doesn’t matter where you work or what your position is. We’re all getting through it together.

 

Parvinder Kumar

Senior Probate Advisor

 

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