Whatever floats your boat – celebrating individuality during Work Life Week

October 10, 2019
Sian Darlington

Legal Counsel

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It’s National #WorkLifeWeek, an initiative to encourage employers and employees to focus on well-being and work-life balance. To mark the week, we have been looking into the working lives of some of our lawyers to see how they manage the tricky balance between home and work.  

Flexible working is one way to encourage well-being and work-life balance.  We all have personal lives, family commitments, unexpected demands on our time.  But, now that technology allows us to work from wherever we are, there’s no reason why we can’t have challenging careers at the same time as taking care of our home lives.

Whilst some law firms merely pay lip service to flexible working, allowing lawyers to perhaps work from home after 8pm or at weekends, gunnercooke lawyers are encouraged to plan their working lives in the best way they see fit, some working from home, some at the office, and some at client premises.  We think this makes for happier lawyers.  As our co-founder, Darryl Cooke’s mantra goes, ‘the purpose of life is to be happy and when you take control of your life and design it according to how you want to live and grow, you give yourself the best chance of happiness’.

One of our lawyers who is juggling a very busy home life with an exhilarating career in Business Crime and Investigations, is Sian Darlington. You might ask yourself how someone can manage three children , a dog and a home whilst still enjoying a challenging working life.  Sian gives some insight here into how she makes it work and it goes to show that working practices  are very individual!

“I heard someone say that rather than ‘work life balance’, what people really need is “work life integration” and I think that reflects my reality. Because I have total flexibility as to where or when I work, I can alter start and finish times to do school drops offs/pick-ups or attend the many events and activities that go with having three children of primary school age. From a client’s perspective I doubt many of them realise, as I am generally available at some point each day, and it can actually be advantageous to them, especially if they need something doing urgently – working early in the morning, late into the evening or at weekends is just another part of my work pattern.

“One of the advantages of being able to work at home is that the dog isn’t left alone for long periods. I generally take him out around lunchtime and use the time to make calls or listen to podcasts. It also gives me the chance to get a bit of exercise and to see daylight, especially valuable in winter.  It isn’t always easy – the lack of a set pattern of working hours can sometimes feel a bit chaotic and the boundaries between work and family time are pretty blurred, but the positives far outweigh the negatives for me. I’m also lucky that my husband’s job has some flexibility and we have family nearby who help out with childcare (and dog walking) which means that I can work from the office one or two days a week (and enjoy some adult contact!) and also gives me the flexibility to attend meetings, court hearings etc to the client’s convenience “.

You can find out more about gunnercooke’s culture HERE.