Recognising Flex Week in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Flexible work can be about spending more time with your children. It can also be about ski mountaineering. The reasons that Macquarie employees work flexibly are as diverse as they are. Hear from some of them as they share why it matters to them as part of our recent Flex Week in EMEA. 

Yachting, ski mountaineering and business resilience

Alex Friend spends his spare time yacht racing and ski mountaineering. At work, he manages business resilience in Macquarie’s London office.

“I’m grateful that I’ve been able to manage work alongside my passions,” he says. ”I spend a lot of time training for the sports that I love ­­− whether that’s in the gym, running or cycling. Working flexibly allows me to manage my training routine with work, doing both where they best fit.

“I train when I am at my freshest, which is not always at 6am before work. Sometimes the gym is an amazing change of scenery at 2pm. It means that I get my training done and am able go back to work feeling refreshed.”

Alex, who participated in Flex Week in Macquarie’s London office, knows it’s an unusual use of flexible work arrangements. But then, Macquarie doesn’t have a standard approach to flexibility.

“I am aware that my approach to flexibility may not fit the usual type but it shows that flexibility comes in all forms and is adapted to suit the individual.”

Flex Week is an initiative introduced at Macquarie to encourage workplace flexibility and let staff know about the options available. It encourages employees to talk with their manager about what they need to better manage their work and home lives.

His role requires flexibility, he says, and the benefits flow both ways.

“Issues don’t tend to pencil themselves into the diary – and if they did, it wouldn’t be between 9am and 5pm on a weekday. I have the flexibility to manage the delivery of my work when and how I need to. Whether that’s changing my work hours or having the technology to log on from home, I’m able to balance this.” 

Transitioning back to work after parental leave

Maia Mathieson returned to work recently after the birth of her daughter in February. Macquarie’s “phased parental leave return” helped to make the transition gentle for both Maia and her baby.

Phased parental leave return allows Macquarie’s UK employees who are returning from parental leave to work three days a week at full-time pay for the first four weeks.  

“The ability to come back to work gradually proved essential to me being able to manage work and home life,” Maia says.

Maia, a managing director in Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets division, now works four days a week, although there is flexibility around that as well. Some weeks business needs or travel make the four days impossible, but Maia says she is always able to make up for that by taking a day off another time. Her husband also has a flexible work schedule, which means he can generally drop off and pick up their daughter on the days that Maia is working.

“I now see that I totally underestimated the scale of the juggling required and the emotional rollercoaster for both new mums and dads. I understand how difficult it must be for parents with less flexibility and how it could impact their emotional and professional health. I am very grateful for the experience I have had.” 

Part-timer who manages 25 employees

Eight months ago, Graham McGee changed to four days a week so he could spend more time with his children.

He continues to manage 25 people in Macquarie’s Tech Assist team across the region. It was a challenge at first, Graham says, but the support of his team made it work.

“I’ve had great support from them, as well as from my regional and global managers.

“It’s also meant that many of my team members have had the opportunity to step up and take on more responsibility in certain areas while I’m not in the office.”

Graham says he is flexible with his days, changing them according to project demands. 

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to have extra time with my children while they’re young. I’m sure when I look back on my life it’s something I will continue to appreciate even more.”

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