In 2005, when I was living in the UK working for a well-known retail chain in their support office on the outskirts of London I faced the decision of taking redundancy or relocating to the ‘land of concrete cows and roundabouts’ where they would move to join forces with another massive retailer. Somehow I ended up in the dream compromise of taking the redundancy (with six-month retention bonus for the transition to a new team) and becoming a self-employed consultant for them. This well-rewarded new ‘role’ did involve me travelling four hours a day to the new office location, however, fortunately, that was only for three days a week.
The other two days a week was my first taste of working remotely as I set up a home office. This progressive company was well ahead in their approach to flexible working all those years ago, long before Covid-19 and long before collaborative working tools, the cloud or even a stable remote connection to their servers…how I would curse the ‘Citrix connection’ for the IT challenges it caused! Fast forward to 2007, after 18 months of commuting across London into the Buckinghamshire countryside to work in the “new town” of Milton Keynes, my motherland was calling me home.
I packed my bags and headed back to New Zealand where I counted my lucky stars for a second time as my original employer that had relocated to Milton Keynes agreed to continue a ‘long-distance relationship‘ by keeping me on as a consultant even more remotely and paying me in pounds sterling for the privilege of working for them one day a week from New Zealand. I spent a further six months supporting them from afar. This was of invaluable help in getting settled and easing myself back into the kiwi way of life – despite even greater IT challenges from our country’s archaic broadband connections, that saw me having to use cafes with commercial bandwidth broadband to connect to servers in the UK!
Towards the end of 2007 I decided that I was starting to lose touch with the day to day operations of my client’s business in the UK and so even though these days it would be much easier to remain connected, I finished up with them and took up a New Zealand based role. All good things must come to an end!
One thing this experience helped me uncover is how much I enjoy the flexibility of working from home. No more long commutes, freedom to choose when you get the work done – as long as it gets done is all that counts! Now as a working parent I am able to attend school trips, prize givings etc. so that I feel I can ‘be there’ when it counts. Thankfully, we have now well and truly entered a time where it is more common to enjoy flexible working solutions, however having “Flex” in my business name regularly reminds me to be grateful for the opportunities that were presented to me all those years ago and how redundancy is often a ‘gift’ that people don’t always recognise at the time they are going through it.
I have occasionally reflected on why I was in such a fortuitous position and there is something I have no doubt over. If I was not ‘valued’ for my contribution to my former employer, then I would not have been given such opportunities and rewards. Adding value is absolutely a non-negotiable in being rewarded in return. Everyone, regardless of their role as customer, employer, consumer, family member is always looking for “what’s in it for them” and if you can provide that (and better still, demonstrate and measure it), then it’s a win-win situation!
That concludes this story and explains why “Add value” is emblazoned across every screensaver, on every Flex Marketing device!