#TeamPipster* is, quite by chance, an all-woman team. We are all at different stages in our lives, with various needs and demands on our time. Our success grows and our clients flourish, in spite of, or most likely because of, the way we work. Flexible working and a focus on wellbeing is encouraged through a caring and supporting culture. This allows us to get our work done in a way that suits us, our families and our lives. Here is a fairly typical day…
|Job||Company Director, Bid Consultant, Manager and Writer||Bid Writer||Bid Writer and Apprentice||Bid Coordinator|
|Lives With||Partner and teenage daughter||Husband and two primary-aged children||Two professional house mates||Husband and middle school-aged daughter|
|Works||Dedicated and separate office in house||Garden office||Sharing three working areas with housemates. Plus Mum’s house and Grandma’s house!||Office area in the middle of the house|
|Pets||Two kittens||Cats and Guinea pigs||None||One dog|
|Relaxes||Walking, OCR, SUPing, reading||Run, exercise class, cooking, drinks with friends||Run, walk Grandma’s dog, drinks with friends||Dog walks, gardening, drinking coffee, shopping|
|Morning||Up at 6.30, do chores or go to gym and be at desk between 7 and 8.30||Up at 7 and get kids up. Bit of work before school run and back at desk for 9.30.||Up at 8 and to work for 9||Up at 7, school run and desk for 9.30|
|Lunch||Grab sandwich at desk at 12.30ish||Eat and a walk along river at 1||Eat and a walk to local park at 1||Lunch and a dog walk. Meet friend in park at 12.30.|
|Afternoon||Catch up with daughter when she gets home at 4. Log off at 5 to cook tea and walk after.||School run at 3. Log off at 5.||Log off at 6 and walk to the shops to get dinner||School run at 3. Log off at 5.30.|
|Evening||Back at desk at 7 to catch up on company management. Log off at 9 to watch film. Bed at 10.||Put kids to bed, chill out in hot bath. Bed at 11.||Late meal with flatmates and quality TV time. Bed at 11.||Workout, eat tea, put daughter to bed and watch TV. Bed at 10.|
Pippa’s tips for enabling flexible working include:
- ENSURE ABSOLUTE TRUST:
This is the most important thing. I trust my team to get the work done. I trust them to tell me if something is not right, if they need extra assistance or haven’t got enough to do. They trust me to look out for them. They are encouraged and pushed when necessary and allowed to ease back should they need to (e.g. for appointments, their own wellbeing, family emergencies, etc).
- ENABLE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION:
This is as important as trust. Effective two-way communication channels – formal and informal – are so important in encouraging a culture of openness and honesty. We have a #TeamPipster WhatsApp group for quick queries and gifs (we love a gif!). The team have a separate WhatsApp group without me in it. Regular formal touch points are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays via Teams, as well as monthly team days in person. This may sound like a lot, but it is all absolutely necessary to ensure supportive and active engagement.
- PROVIDE A FOCUS ON WELLBEING:
Wellbeing underpins our business – healthy, happy people = superb work quality. I encourage lunch breaks, getting out in the fresh air and taking well deserved ‘me-time’. We have monthly wellbeing Wednesdays which are 15 minute chats with me to talk about how they are in general. Our annual Wellbeing Wednesday Day basically involves a spa day! All staff are enrolled into Perkbox, which provides them with free confidential counselling and money off healthy pursuits and products.
- GUARANTEE A SUITABLE WORKSPACE WITH THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT:
Thorough risk assessments ensure each workspace is suitable and allows for effective and comfortable working. Providing the right equipment to do the job is also essential, including a separate mobile for work that is switched off at the end of each shift.
- ALLOW TIME FLEXIBILITY:
Our core hours are 9.30 to 2.30 with flexibility around the rest, and total relaxation if important things come up within core hours. All staff are in charge of their own hours and keep their own time logs – if they have to go above their allotted hours (as sometimes happens at the end of a bid), they claim the time back in lieu.
“As a mum of two children, flexible working enables me to have the best of both worlds – having a career whilst being present when the children get home from school. No two days are the same for me. One day I might start work at 7am, the next I might start later after walking the children into school.” Hannah Thorne
“As someone who moves around a lot to visit my partner, my Mum, and my Grandma, having the freedom to work flexibly is vital to me. Knowing Pippa trusts me to work in different locations allows me to live in London while still seeing the people closest to me – no matter how far away they now live.” Katie Dongworth
“Pippa has given me the time, space and freedom to adapt after my last role, where I was not cared for. She provides flexibility in our hours, trusting us to manage our working patterns, while we ensure we are there for those crucial projects. I love this flexibility – it allows me to give quality time to my family. They have even commented about the positive difference in me, and I am loving my work again.” Jo Brassington
This article was written by Pippa Birch and Team Pipster.
Pippa has been a Bid Writer for 20 years, working as an employee for major companies within the Highways and Civil Engineering Sector before going freelance in 2012. Pippa and her team write for companies across a variety of sectors (construction, facilities management, custody and forensics) although core clients are from highways and civil engineering. Pipster Solutions has become a successful, sustainable business with over 40 clients.