Category: Juggling Time

Career Mum … Can We Really Have it All?

Career Mum … Can We Really Have it All?

Is being a career mum even possible? Today I read that 6 in 10 women feel having kids is bad for your career. Really!!!????

In these days of “anything is possible”, so many career mums juggle work with looking after a young family. Perhaps you are lucky enough to work from home. Perhaps you are flying about in private jets and have an army of nannies and chefs catering to your child’s every requirement. Or perhaps you are like most of us working mums who do everything yourself and spend much of your life in a state of mania and panic that you have forgotten something vitally important.

A Career Mum’s Maternity Leave

As a Career Mum, I went on maternity leave a few days before my little one was due and returned to the office full time 11 weeks after he was born. I think this is fairly usual in the USA but not so much in the UK. Friends and colleagues often gasp in horror to hear of my very short maternity leave but I am the main wage earner in our little family and if the mortgage is to be paid and holidays are to be booked, I need to get to work. And the truth is I wanted to get back to work and felt little remorse about leaving my child with family and latterly, a private nursery which I paid through the nose for. Men are not criticized for not taking career breaks, so why are women often sneered at for wanting to have it all?

A Career Mum’s Guilt

As my son has grown older and my working life has become even busier; I have felt the gut wrenching pangs of guilt associated with not being at home. I have had embarrassing situations where my child was at nursery for 4 years and his teachers did not know who I was at graduation because I was rarely the one who had time to drop him or collect him; I have had parents at school assume my husband is a single parent; I have occasionally missed parents’ evenings, nativity plays and sports days due to travelling and/or work deadlines.

On the other side, I regularly sprint in to the office 10 minutes late as scraped knees have needed to be bandaged or breakfast spills cleaned up. I often run out of the office early to ensure prompt collection from after school club. I can’t tell you how many times I have needed to sign a document and rummaged through my handbag for a pen only to pull out plastic dinosaurs, snotty tissues and occasionally special pictures that my son sneaks in to my bag to cheer me up at the office (those days are the best days).

Working Mums – our children attend breakfast clubs, after school care, summer holiday clubs and occasionally even come to work with us. It is stressful; it is exhausting; it is enough to make you want the odd G&T on a Friday night.

Do I regret it? Would I change it? NO!!

A Career Mum’s Reward

I look at my 9 year old son with a mixture of pride and awe. This well-adjusted, confident, intelligent, hilarious little man is the way he is perhaps in spite of, but certainly because of our home set up. In a busy household where both parents work, he understands he needs to help out. He earns pocket money by performing well at school, undertaking the few household chores that he is set, and will save his pocket money for that Xbox One if he really wants it before Christmas. He understands the importance of working for things. He has a centred moral compass and demonstrates compassion for others. He is kind and helpful; running down the front steps when I have been shopping to help carry bags. Would he be all these things if I had stayed at home with him? Probably. Is he still all of these things even though I work full time? Absolutely.

Could you be a Career Mum and have it all?

No matter whether you are a working mum or a busy mum at home all day (and let’s be honest – that is the toughest job of all), we all try to teach our children the skills and values to grow up as responsible members of society.

Remarkable ladies do the “working mum thing” every day – they are surgeons, waitresses, lawyers, shopkeepers etc. We have relied upon and are eternally grateful to the individuals and institutions that have assisted us in retaining our sense of self, making us happier women than we would be if we were just “Mum”.

For many years, I have been lucky enough to be associated with Ably Resources Ltd. Our organization proudly champions gender equality in the workplace and has no glass ceiling for career minded ladies with children.

If you are a woman chasing that board level appointment and thinking that children will prevent that; my experience has been that you can have it all – if you’re willing to work for it!!

Author: Ami Wright. Ami is the director of Ably Resources. Ably is a leading specialist recruitment group. They specialise in finding (flexible) work for women in Engineering, Oil & Gas and Drilling, Marine & Subsea and Architectural and Structural Engineering. They cover UK, Middle East and South East Asia – mainly relocating expats to these locations.

Shared Office, Working from Home

Working from Home or in a Shared Office?

Working from home is great. No commute, work anytime you like and wear anything you want. Then again, there are distractions, and it’s easy not to get anything done at home. So, when working from home, I have often wondered if it would be better to have a flex office somewhere or just a flex desk in a shared office space. Especially on those days where I have 2 meetings in the city and end up trying to get work done in a place like Starbucks, Costa or Eat in between.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to try it out last week when I was offered a day at a Regus shared office in London.

Morning commute

It got off to a good start. I dressed in office attire, and joined the commuters right after school drop-off. I felt really professional travelling in, reading my morning newspaper and being part of that world of work that I have said goodbye to when I started working from home many years ago. Nice to be back.

The building was only one tube stop from Waterloo, and it was only a matter of minutes before I had reached the Regus building. Great commute.

Settling into my Shared Office

Reception staff were kind and efficient and quickly showed me to my office, explaining all practicalities on the way. I installed myself in my cubicle, and got down to work.

I loved having everything there: the desk, the set of plugholes for my equipment and even an in tray and a pencil holder. It all looked and felt very professional and efficient, unlike the invariably cluttered desk I use when working from home.

There was nothing there to distract me, and I was surrounded by people who were all working too, so it should have helped me to get lots done quickly.  In reality though, it took me a while to get settled in. It’s like that first day in the office. All your colleagues look really busy and you are still wondering where on earth to start, how to get the coffee machine working and who best to ask where the loo is.

When I had just got my coffee, a working wifi, and everything I needed dug up from my bag my guest had already arrived.

Receiving Guests in a Shared Office

I chose a day on which I also had an external appointment, so I could receive them in a professional environment. It worked brilliantly. I offered them a choice of coffees, teas and water (all complimentary with the Regus booking) and we found some lovely comfy chairs with a view over London for our chat. When we were done I could even offer her a place in my room to finish some work, as guests are allowed to share the room with you.

Get Organised in a Shared Office

Now that I felt more settled the afternoon went by quickly and I did get lots of work done. That’s also when I learned that if I want to do this more often I need to get organised, as it turned out I didn’t have access to some key documents I needed.

It was great to have a private desk for work that required focus and concentration, and for listening to  a webinar (forgot my headphones). I love being part of the buzz in an office too though, so for the last hour I chose to work on the larger, shared desks, and that worked very well.

On the way home I reflected it had been a productive day in the office. Unfortunately that’s when the trains were delayed and I was late for school pick-up.  Ah yes, I had been too optimistic and forgot I used to allow some extra time when I still did commute and had to make it home in time for pick-up.

Working from Home – Is it Better?

I can definitely recommend working in a shared office, as a change from working from home. It’s ideal for receiving clients, a great place to work in-between appointments and there are no distractions.

Having a choice of meeting rooms, shared space, private offices and meeting booths offers all you need. If you only do it once, there’s not much benefit to it, but if you do it regularly you will get organised and it will be a valuable addition to your work-life.

I would definitely do it again. Thank you Regus.


Tips for working in a shared office, and on the go

  • Ensure you have access to all your mailboxes, ideally from all your mobile devices
  • Build a filing system in a shared place such as Dropbox
  • Bring a document with your passwords (e.g. saved in your dropbox (or similar) or on your mobile devices)
  • Ensure you have contact details of clients all stored, and with you
  • Remember to carry auxiliary items such as phone charger, headphones, and laptop cables
  • Allow for train delays

Where to find shared offices, or hub near you

  • Regus – Co-Working Space, Day Office, Meeting Rooms in London and throughout the UK at strategic locations
  • Hubworking – Pay as you go meeting rooms, London (Liverpool Street, Victoria, Monument)
  • Jelly UK – Brings homeworkers, free-lancers and entrepreneurs together in a co-working space, across the UK
  • The Thinking Bus, Farnham – affordable flexible workspaces and creche
  • The Third Door, London, Putney, SW18 – flexible workspaces, meeting rooms and on-site nursery
  • The Hub, London, Islington – office space for social entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups, with 30 co-working spaces
  • Near Desk – you become a member and have access to many co-working spaces in London, the South-West and Home Counties
  • Mozilla Space London, WC2N – Open work environments aimed at hackers and coders
  • Skyline offices, London – Concierge Service that helps you find suitable business space and then run it



Top Tips for Working Mothers to Organise your Household and Save Time

Top Tips for Working Mothers to Organise your Household and Save Time

For some women running the household is pretty much a full time job in itself. Throw a couple of kids calendars, a husband and a full time job into the mix and it can get pretty overwhelming when you are a working mother.

Now there are thousands of articles out there telling you what to do to get the perfect work life balance as a full time working mother. I’m not going to do that. I’m simply going to tell you about things that I have found from my own personal experience and professional experience have worked for me, but have also worked for friends.

The things I recommend and why

1. Have a Wall calendar or planner, visible in a well-used communal area. Always add things as soon as you know about them. WHY? Because this gives you a glance first thing to see what the day holds, and will make you unlikely to forget it.

2. Have a good online Calendar. (Google, outlook-there are many fantastic ones out therel). You can sync this with the calendar on your phone and set auto reminders. This works for birthdays too and you can set multiple reminders-one reminder a week in advance and one for the day itself. WHY: We all have smart phones, and we all look at them when they flash or beep. So even if just for a second, that reminder has popped into your thoughts.

3. Register for online grocery shopping, and set up your shopping list. Now this takes time initially, but is great once done. WHY: You can then log in and complete your shop with a few clicks. Obviously there will be things that you want to add from week to week, but these will save in your favourites. This saves tons of time and money-stopping impulse buys and saving you the trip to the store itself.

4. Get to know your post person. WHY? When you know who is delivering your post, you can tell them where you prefer parcels when you’re not home-if they understand you don’t mind things left in the back garden, it means less tickets and less time queuing down the collection office.

5. Have a housework schedule. WHY? If you schedule small daily tasks on most days of the week, and then a clean on one morning of the week, you feel in complete control and the one full day housework can be shelved. Allocate small jobs to the family and put a rota on the fridge. Everyone feels a sense of achievement.

6. Have a gift and stationery stash: Keep a small stash of gifts for both men and women, (I tend to pick these up in offers and sales or if I see something that makes me think of someone I know) and a couple of birthday cards and gift wrap, with a few jiffy bags and a variety of postage stamps. WHY: Everyone forgets a birthday from time to time. The beauty of first class post is that it doesn’t take long. So even if you remember on the day and you get home late, you can select a gift from your stash, wrap it and get it popped into the local post-box on that day and say the gift is on the way. Post is sometimes late. And people are never unhappy receiving another gift a couple days after their birthday.

7. Have a weekly menu plan and prepare as much as possible in advance: Plan your meals for the whole working week. (Something the online shop is very helpful for). This includes breakfast and lunches. If you know what you’re having daily, it means you can just go straight in and do it. After dinner, whilst dad and kids wash up, you can prepare lunch for tomorrow. Keep a backup supply of lunch items too, just in case. Also then set up breakfast. Get the tea cups set in front of the kettle with the tea/coffee and sugar in them for the morning. Fill the kettle ready for morning use. And get the cereals/toast items out and ready to access or chop the fruit and cover ready to eat. WHY? If you spend 10 minutes every evening doing this (while everyone else is in the kitchen with you after dinner anyway) your mornings will just flow, and even if you are running a bit late one morning, it doesn’t matter because everything is good to go. So there are some simple things that you can implement into daily life, that do take a bit of time setting up, but once they are in play, really can make a huge difference.

There are of course methods that can take almost the entire workload from you. You can hire or outsource, both have proven to be very successful in many households. Some hire housekeepers and nannies, but this might not be right for everyone. This is when you might outsource.

Author: Nadia Render. Nadia runs Norfolk Virtual Assistant and offers a range of services remotely. She offers anything from doing the weekly online grocery shop, to booking car MOT’s, renewing insurance and paying bills, arranging appointments; purchasing and sending family birthday cards and gifts, Christmas cards and shopping, (She will even gift wrap). She offers a full support service to working Mums who just haven’t got the spare time for these things (or when they do, they want to be with their children.) She creates a shared calendar for the Mum, where important things are listed and can act as a physical reminder of things so that Mums have one less thing to worry about. Her services start at as little as 1 hour per week. And there are many VA’s out there. She has a network across the UK, so she can delegate when needed.


How to make time for your return to work job search

How to make time for your return to work job search

Two recent conversations with returners have reminded me how difficult it can be for women to focus on their return to work activity: there always seems to be something more important or time-consuming for them to do.

As former professionals used to managing busy careers, women on career break often fill their lives with activities that keep them busy, engaged and feeling productive. As well as looking after family and home, they frequently take on voluntary roles or small paid projects, develop new hobbies and simply ‘help others out’.

The difficulty comes when trying to return to work: how do you fit a job search into an already busy life? The truth is that finding a new role, especially when you have left the workforce, is a job in itself. Your return to work will only happen with dedicated time, energy and commitment.

Why it’s hard to find space

Somehow, it’s especially hard for mother and this is why:

  • you might not be sure whether you are ready to return, so you don’t give it your attention to avoid having to make a decision
  • you don’t know how to get started on your return to work, so you procrastinate
  • you’ve made some small efforts and have been deterred by the response (or lack of) you’ve received
  • it’s the wrong time of year (eg pre-Christmas/Easter/summer holiday)
  • it feels selfish to be focusing on yourself after so many years of putting others first
    you don’t know which of the other activities to cut out, in order to make space for your return to work plans


How to create space

Here are some ideas on how you can start to create time for yourself, so you can address some of these barriers, both practical and psychological:

  • start small – make a date with yourself! It could be sitting in a coffee shop for half an hour after school drop off, on your own with the purpose of doing your own thinking and planning. If you can do this once, you can start to make it a regular habit and then expand the time you devote to it
  • enlist a buddy – this could either be someone in the same position as you with whom you can meet regularly and share experiences and ideas. Or it could be someone who is simply there to support, encourage and celebrate with you and keep you on track
  • give your search a project name – to give it focus and make it more like a work project
  • sign up for a relevant course – this will enable to you dedicate time to your new direction, introduce you to others who might be helpful to you and signify that you are taking positive steps for yourself
  • address your reluctance to put yourself first – by trying it out! This post on Banning Selfish may be useful
  • delegate – perhaps you don’t have to keep doing all the things you currently do whether at home or elsewhere
    work with a coach – this will commit you to spending time (and money) on your return to work in a structured way and get you into the habit of giving time to this activity.

Remember that no-one else can do the work required for you, so your return to work will only happen if you give it – and yourself – the time and attention you deserve.


julianne&katerinaAuthor: Katerina Gould, from the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.

Working Mothers need to ban Selfish

Working Mothers need to ban Selfish

Sheryl Sandberg’s Ban Bossy campaign has sent a strong message to young girls. It illustrates how powerful words can be in labelling ourselves and shaping our thoughts and feelings. Personally, I’d like to ban the overuse of a word that both holds back mothers from enjoying their work-family lives and can even get in the way of a successful return to work. Mothers, let’s Ban Selfish!

How often before having children did we label doing something positive just for ourselves – playing a sport, learning a language, reading a book – as ‘selfish’? Never, that I can remember. In fact, we usually felt quite pleased with ourselves that we weren’t just slumping in front of the TV but were staying healthy or continuing learning new skills outside of work.

But I’ve noticed that a strange transformation comes over many women when children arrive. Suddenly doing something for ourselves starts to make us feel bad, rather than good … it becomes ‘selfish’.
In the last few months, I’ve heard mothers describe all of these as ‘selfish’:

  • Going for a run on a Saturday morning / a yoga class on a Thursday evening
  • Signing up for a Monday evening cookery class
  • Re-reading Jane Austen on a Sunday morning
  • Going to an evening work event to make new contacts
  • Catching up on reading work journals for an hour on a Saturday

Taken further, some women describe their desire to return to paid work as ‘selfish’, usually if they don’t financially need to work but are feeling unfulfilled at home. It can be seen as a personal failing: “Why can’t I just be happy looking after my kids?”

By using the term ‘selfish’, we’re telling ourselves that we are lacking consideration for others and prioritising our interests above everyone else’s.  In fact the opposite is true. We see these choices as selfish because we’re putting our needs at the bottom of the pile. Driven by caring for others, we can end up becoming martyrs to our family.

Taking time for ourselves alongside the needs of your family is not selfish. It’s a healthy and positive attitude that is likely to improve your family life as you will be happier and more energised. Who wants a bored, frustrated and ‘selfless’ mother?

Are you ready to Ban Selfish?

julianne&katerinaAuthor: From the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.


Why Work Needs to be Energising as well as Family-friendly: Nicola's story

Why Work Needs to be Energising as well as Family-friendly: Nicola’s story

We always advise women returners to target roles that will be energising and motivating for them and not to solely focus on finding a job that is part-time and flexible. If you find your ‘family-friendly’ work boring then you are unlikely to be happy with your work-life balance. Nicola’s story illustrates this perfectly …

Nicola’s story: Back to insurance (via nursery teaching)

Before I had children I worked in insurance broking and risk management. When I had my first daughter I went back to work 4 days a week but when I had my second daughter I didn’t want to delegate to a nanny anymore and decided to become a full-time mum. By the time my youngest was 2½ and at nursery I needed something to fill my days to stop getting frustrated. So I took a job as a nursery assistant teacher and worked there for 5 mornings a week term-time for 5 years. I enjoyed meeting new people but there was no mental challenge. The death of a close relative led me to reassess my life and I realized I was drifting. I considered training to be a schoolteacher but didn’t have much enthusiasm for it. I kicked my heels for a while and then contacted my old boss who I had kept in touch with over the 10 years since I left insurance. I asked him to let me know if he heard of any job, provided it was flexible. I also told all my friends and old work contacts that I was looking.

By pure chance one of my husband’s friends was having lunch with another mutual friend and mentioned that I wanted to get back into insurance. This friend worked for a risk management consultancy which was recruiting and approached me about a role there. I asked for 3 days a week, flexible according to demand but not Fridays. This was agreed because I was clear about what I wanted and what could work for the business.
I now absolutely love my life – it was definitely the right decision to go back. Even though I am working longer hours, my life feels more my own and I have got back my self-respect. I thought I’d be exhausted but in fact I have more energy than when I was working a few hours a day in the nursery. I’d rather be busy than bored!

More inspiring return-to-work stories on Women Returners and..more inspiring return-to-work stories on Mum & Career.

julianne&katerinaAuthor: From the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.


HELP! Its half-term! - School holiday tips for Working Mothers

HELP! Its half-term! – School holiday tips for Working Mothers

The much anticipated first half term of the year is almost here.

It is my particular favourite as it is the first in the new school year, autumn season and usually around Halloween/Diwali, end of daylight savings and a real game changer in routines.

I remember when my son started school, I was petrified of how I would handle the ‘1- week- every- 6 weeks-routine’. Of course, not everyone can afford to get time off work for all school holidays, given that the average number of school days is only 190 days a year!

With a little forward planning and networking (yes what you use in your day job) it need not be stressful!

Of course what I am writing below is not any new information and common sense really, but you could use it as a quick checklist.

  • Start early – schools publish their calendars and teacher training days well in advance so make sure it is on your fridge door or somewhere easily visible
  • Ask for help – your partner, family member, grandparent could pitch in 1 day of the week – it could be just what they need to (re)connect with your child(ren)
  • Holiday clubs – An all-time favourite of mine –there is no dearth of providers, check your local school, council, Net mums website for what is on – most providers even have early bird discounts so the point about starting early helps – if your child’s best friend is also planning to go to the same club, check with his/her parent to make sure you book the same day(s) and your child will be extra happy! Use your childcare vouchers and it’s easy on the wallet too!
  • Offer to agree on pick up or drop arrangements with your friends/neighbours as most clubs are only 10am – 4 pm or check if the club has an early drop/late pick up arrangement (usually for an additional fee)
  • If your employer is flexible and the nature of your job permits, try to get 1 day in the half term to work from home or a similar flexible arrangement
  • Plan plan plan ahead – Book early and use the half term week to get these done for yourself and/or your children – eye check-up/dental check-ups, shop for new shoes (scuffed already?!!)
  • Take a day off – Yes why not?! Most employers will appreciate that you are not just taking the whole week off – spend the day relaxing with your children, it need not be planned to the minute detail or become an expensive day out at a theme park – my favourite is going to the local park to pick up autumn leaves, conkers and a picnic lunch or tea – weather permitting or a ‘day in’ in pyjamas, doing Halloween, Diwali activity sheets, some baking etc. It might even be a day for ‘trick or treating’. Get some art supplies and stickers from the pound store and you should be sorted!
  • Arrange play dates or even better – team up with a friend/colleague so that you have 2 days sorted this way with each of you having to take off only 1 day each – the wider your social circle – the better! Have a cuppa with your friend when you pick up and unwind!
  • Keep a journal – Encourage your child(ren) to keep a half term journal/scrap book or an autumn bucket list – let them put in those leaves, conkers etc and write about them – you have just made half term learning fun and improve their handwriting along the way
  • Have a movie and popcorn night on the last day of half term – what more could you ask for?! Kids get to choose the movie
  • Print out that all important certificate – Kids love reward recognition (and stickers!) – there are free printables on the web, even Microsoft Word has a template – get one printed in colour and you have just made their half term – THE BEST HALF TERM EVER.
ManjuAuthor: Manju is a full time IT Project Manager and mum to a cheeky 6 year old. She does believe in Mum and Career’s motto of ‘Yes, it can be done’ with the right planning, support network, helpful and co-operative family members and friends; on the lines of the old proverb ‘ It takes a village to raise a child’!

Her article is a summary of her experience in the last couple of years her son has been in school and could resonate with other mums!
Best tips for Business Travel for Working Mothers

Best tips for Business Travel for Working Mothers

At last week’s City Mothers event Freshfields partner Kathleen Healy shared what she learned from her 9 month posting to Hong Kong with 2 toddlers. Daunting, that’s for sure. But Kathleen proves it can be done and enjoyed too. She shared the stage with Catherine Weir from Citibank, who has been travelling the world with her husband and 2 children for over 15 years, and is currently based in Geneva.

I went along to the breakfast and have summarised for you what Kathleen learned during her posting, with  additional tips and advice from Catherine:

1. Focus on ‘How could it be done’

In your head you may have a voice telling you ‘It can’t be done’, quiet that voice and focus on ‘How could it be done’ instead. Most employers have supported families through the process of re-location before and can be an invaluable source of information. They often know what has helped other families. There are a huge amount of on-line resources. Remember to also check out resources from other employers, large corporations with many years of expat experience, such as Shell, often have freely available resources.

2. Think about what it will add professionally

This could for instance include: new contacts in your network, access to different levels or different parts of your organisation, greater exposure to decision makers, building up of unique experience or making you into the ‘go to’ person.

iStock_000009313311XSmall_03. Ask the same 2 questions for your other half

Encourage your other half to think lateral and be positive. In Kathleen’s case, her partner was keen to join, and as an IT analyst he was able to find work as a contractor in Hong Kong. Even if he is keen to go, it’s still good to make sure he thinks about the benefits for himself, particularly career progression for him and how it might be enhanced/otherwise affected as they can help both of you through those really tough moments that invariably come up once you have arrived at your new location.

Following your partner abroad can often feel like a career sacrifice. However it doesn’t have to be. Catherine’s partner learned Chinese during his stay abroad which – albeit many years later – turned out to be a great asset for a trader.

4. Ask the same 2 questions for your children

What will your children get out of it, and how could it benefit them? What would you like them to learn? Most children are surprisingly adaptable. Make sure you find information on childcare in the country you are moving to before you leave. Your employer, Mumsnet and on-line research can give you a lot of insights. In countries like the Philippines and Hong Kong, most people have live-in nannies that are very affordable, as a result families do not have childcare issues. Imagine if you could adapt to what is the custom in the country you are moving to, or whether you would be a lot happier sticking to a different arrangement.

5. Understand the culture of flexible working in your new location

If you currently work flexibly you may need to consider adapting your ways of working or working hours to the working culture in your new location. If working flexibly is something your new working office embraces, you may need to adapt or at least be sensitive to the new environment. Perhaps you might need to adapt for the first couple of months, and use that time to understand what it will look like for your colleagues, managers and staff, before you introduce a new working schedule.

6. Remember to review your contractual terms

Before you decide to go, consider:

  • What does your current contract state, perhaps you signed up to being mobile long time ago in which case it might be harder to refuse
  • If you are asked to take up a secondment but you don’t wish to go, is that ‘not now’ or ‘not ever? If at some point you may like to travel again or be considered for secondment in the future, when would you be prepared to do so?

If you do decide to go, consider:

  • What benefits will be part of the contract, what benefits will NOT be included. In case some benefits are not included, that you would like to have, perhaps there is some flexibility and space for negotiation
  • What are they asking you to sign: a new contract, a local contract or an extension of your current contract?
  • How will you be paid? Home or local currency? Will you need a local bank account?
  • What will happen to your work in your home office? Client relationships? How will they be looked after?
  • What happens when you return? Will you indeed receive the same Terms&Conditions, salary and bonus opportunities?
  • What does it say in your current contract about the smaller but sometimes equally important matters? eg. Will you return to the same office space and same desk?

Also remember to stay in touch with your home office while you are away. Perhaps you can dial into calls or find video conference facilities to help you keep in touch. It is key your colleagues still remember you when you return and you are in touch with developments in your ‘home’ office. Make sure you also update them on what you are doing and what skills and expertise you are gaining. Get credit for what you are doing and don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion.

Overall both Kathleen and Catherine agreed that planning is critical. The more you research and prepare, the more likely it is you will get what you need in your new location.

59620014_IngeWoudstraWebsiteAuthor: Inge Woudstra, Director Mum & Career. Based on a talk by: Kathleen Healy, partner in the Employment, Pensions and Benefits Group of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. She heads the Asia Employment, Pensions and Benefits practice. Catherine Weir, Managing Director, Head of Citi Global Family Office Group and Vice Chairman of CITI Institutional Client Group in EMEA. The talk with organised by CityMothers on 12 September 2013.