My experience of flexible working: Dr Suzy Buckley
Dr Suzy Buckley, Vice-Dean (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) for the Faculty of Population Health Sciences shares her experience of UCL's flexible working policy.
3 October 2019
What is your role at UCL?
I joined UCL in 2006 and have been a Lecturer at the EGA Institute for Women’s Health since 2013. I was also made the Vice-Dean (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) for the Faculty of Population Health Sciences earlier this year and I’m the Programme Director for our new MSc Women’s Health programme.
What challenges were you experiencing prior to flexible working?
When I came back from maternity leave in 2016, I returned part-time (0.8FTE) but still found it very challenging to combine time-sensitive lab experiments with having to leave work at specific times to collect my son from childcare. Over time, I was able to adapt my roles and responsibilities within my job to better accommodate my new working patterns and reflect my changing interests. Since then I have taken on the MSc Programme Director and Vice-Dean (EDI) roles, both of which involve a lot of meetings but these are booked within core hours (10am-4pm).
How did you decide that flexible working was for you?
I am very fortunate to work at the EGA Institute for Women’s Health where flexible working is the norm; I talked over my plans with my line manager who was supportive allowing me to work flexibly. As my home situation changes, I am able to adapt my working patterns to suit but I always make sure to communicate my working days with my colleagues and stay in touch via email to make sure I can deal with emergencies.
How have you benefited from flexible working?
I would seriously struggle to continue at UCL without the support of my Institute and the use of flexible working. I am a solo mum so have to manage a working week with a significant commute and making it to both school drop off and pick up. Now that my son has started school, I use a combination of wrap around care and help from local Mum-friends to have 3 full working days and 2 short days at home working during school hours. It’s a bit of a juggle but it seems to works and it gives me enough time in London to manage my meetings and enough quiet time at home to actually get some work done.