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Balance for Better

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Rachel Needham

Rachel Needham

London
Associate

In the run up to International Women's Day, four of our people explain how they create a better balance in their work and professional lives and why it's important to do so.

Associate Rachel Needham talks about why she wanted to experience the sights and sounds of London and how a secondment made that a reality.

[Dynamic date]

05 March 2019

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Freedom of movement

After three years enjoying everything that beautiful Jersey has to offer, I felt the time was right for a change and was very fortunate to be offered a secondment to our London office in January 2019. 

As much as I loved my time in Jersey, I've always wanted to live and work in London. There's so much to do and explore and I want to soak up everything that is remarkable about the city.

I love the theatre and in London you’re really spoiled for choice. I’m also excited about trying all the amazing vegan food options and going to vegan festivals and events, which we just don't get in Jersey! I’m also closer to my family now – it’s only an hour and fifteen minutes to Newark in Nottinghamshire on the train – and I can meet new people and go to events that I wouldn’t be able to get to easily from Jersey.

I didn't have a 'business case' for my secondment request, it was just something that I really wanted to do, and the firm helped make it happen. If it's possible and not detrimental to the business, then I can’t see any reason why employees shouldn't be allowed to work from different offices. It has certainly made me feel even more loyal to Mourant. 

Flexible working arrangements are on the agenda for all law firms. Many cite employee wellbeing and productivity as just a couple of reasons why it’s important to have flexible working policies in place. Indeed, many firms offer secondments, remote working, alternative hours, a reduction in standard hours and time out – it’s certainly the future for our profession.

A flexible approach to working can be really important to parents in the workplace. If the traditional working model is the only choice available, then it’s inevitable that parents will have to make sacrifices.

Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In, refers to the story of a five-year-old girl who came home from school distraught and told her mother that both she and the boy she had a crush on wanted to be astronauts. When her mother asked her why that was a problem, the little girl replied: "When we go into space together, who will watch our kids?" At five, she thought the most challenging aspect of space travel would be childcare.

Even from an early age, women are considering the trade-offs they may have to make between professional and personal goals. These can be reduced substantially with proper flexible working arrangements and a forward-thinking, understanding employer.