Adam Rowe, Head of Finance Transformation

Using work flex to get through 'life admin'

It’s fair to say that my pandemic was, like everyone’s, pretty intense in its own unique way. Our second baby was born just a month before the first lockdown – add to that a two year old and you’re soon bouncing off the walls!

We were quite cautious about going out, and with nurseries shut we had to get creative on how we were going to look after the kids. We’re both from Australia so there was no family, no bubbling – it was all on us.

I worked some pretty odd hours during those 18 months – doing lots at night. I can’t say it was always easy and it did mean that at times I wasn’t able to interact with colleagues as I wanted to, but I got through it - we got through it. And Sovereign were behind me as we did that – they were very supportive.

Now that we’ve come out the other side, my wife has gone back to work in London – she organises big events for the publishing industry so it’s definitely a role that works better in person. I switched to working for Sovereign from a job in the city a few years ago as I knew that once babies came along, I would be doing the lion’s share of childcare.

I do childcare drop offs and pick ups, tea, bathtime, bedtime most days – whereas my wife has to be up and out the door, commuting. It is a switch from the ‘traditional’ set up, but it 100% works for our family.

What I do have to do, though, is make sure I carve out time for myself. I wonder if my accountant’s brain helps me to compartmentalise and plan - because as every parent knows, planning is key.

I like to use the regular flexibility of a longer lunch hour to get through ‘life admin’ like paying bills, or taking the car to its MOT, but also for walking, or getting to the gym, or going outside and maybe gardening a little. I don’t let it interfere with business critical stuff, and so I’ll be there if I’m needed, but mostly I’ll catch up that extra hour later on in the evening, doing tasks that don’t require interaction with anyone else. There’s been no push back on that – and it’s very clear to me that Sovereign is outcome-focused, not about presenteeism.

I’m glad that some of the habits that I set up during the pandemic have carried through into this new routine - except maybe the internet shopping addiction, where the delivery guy has become my new best friend. That, I’m still working on.