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SMART Working: Anthony Jeffs

Anthony Jeffs, Global Head of Product Platforms - HSBC Global Asset Management

Do you have any direct reports? If so, how many?

Yes, eight.

Why do you work flexibly?

I first started working flexibly twenty years ago when I became the sole carer of my then three year old daughter.  Her wellbeing was my number one priority and I was not sure how I could balance her needs alongside my work commitments, so was considering giving up my job.

Thankfully, my manager felt this was an extreme solution, so we worked together to figure out an arrangement that gave me the flexibility to balance my work and family commitments. 

The remote working technology was not as good as it is now, so we focused on compressing my working day to accommodate the morning and afternoon school run, with the flexibility to work from home, if required.  At first my colleagues were a bit confused as to why I could not participate in early morning or late afternoon meetings, but quickly adapted meeting times to align with my working schedule.

Even though I was working a compressed day, I still needed to complete my projects, but no longer could spare that extra hour or two in the office to get things done.  As such, I felt my work become much more focused as my days were tasked focused versus hours in the office focused.

As my daughter got older and I remarried, I gradually adjusted my working arrangement around her growing independence and benefiting from having an additional parental figure in her life.

Over the years I have come to see the real benefits of flexible working. Even though I no longer have the same parental demands on my time, I still work at least one day a week from home, but the days I am in or out of the office are flexible.  I have a long commute, so having a day working from home helps with my emotional and physical wellbeing, but also provides social benefits, allowing me to spend more time with my family during the working week.

What does FW look like for you?

When I am in the office I am usually in lots of meetings or can easily get pulled into short / informal conversations.  Therefore, I try to use my remote working days as time without the office “noise” to focus on confidential materials, getting caught up, etc.

How long within current firm?

28 years.

How long have you been working flexibly?

20+ years.

How long have you worked within the industry?

30+ years.

Was this your first application?

As my personal life has changed over the years, so has my working arrangement.  Last year was a really rough year for me and my family between unforeseen deaths and illnesses.  Once again the Company was positive about accommodating my needs and working with me to find a working arrangement that provided the time I needed either on a short or medium term basis.

What are the positive outcomes from your decision to work flexibly?

Initially, my flexible working arrangement allowed me to stay in the industry and continue with my career while at the same time meeting my family’s needs.  We all have a personal and a professional life and, for me, working flexibly has enabled me to have a more defined space for home and work.

Are there any negative outcomes from your decision to work flexibly?

Personally, I have not seen any negatives from a flexible working arrangement.  As a manager I feel that we need to make sure we balance the business needs with the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of the team.

My team’s work is project driven and has a global focus, which helps with a flexible working environment as we need to accommodate the working days of our colleagues around the globe and our output is task driven.

I have several people on my team that have a flexible working arrangement, so I need to be sure their workload is correctly aligned with their work pattern; it’s not right for someone to be paid 80% of their salary, as they work part-time, but assumed they will do 100% of the work.

Therefore, I make sure boundaries are set and encourage each person to work within those boundaries.

Any other words of advice?

Make sure colleagues know your flexible working arrangement and ask them to adapt meetings, deadlines, etc. that meet both your needs.

Be sure to set boundaries and work within those boundaries.  At the end of the day, flexible working is based on trust and should be based on work produced versus the hours worked.

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