The tried and tested route is not always the best path to success. This is especially true when it comes to ways of working. At Virgin, we believe flexible working is smart working. Thinking differently can open up great opportunities and possibilities.
Virgin has never done business as usual. As a Group, we shy away from the predictable, believing that choice empowers people to make great decisions. This is one of the reasons why we attract such brilliant people; it’s easier to attract top talent when you are open and flexible. It’s not effective or productive to force them to behave in a conventional way.
Virgin Money’s Emily Cox is the great example of this. Emily is responsible for the business’s public affairs, and led the team responsible for the Gadhia Review into the representation of women in senior managerial roles in the Financial Services industry – contributing towards the company’s ambition to achieve gender balance across the business by 2020. Sounds like more than a traditional 9-to-5 job, doesn’t it?!
Well, actually, Emily has worked part time since January 2016 so that she can spend more time with her young daughter. And to such great effect that she has been named in the 2017 Power Part Time List – an annual roll call of inspiring individuals at the very top of their profession. The people recognised on the list are busting the myth that part time means an end to achievement. They are business leaders of the future, and intend to get there on their own terms.
I’ve never been one to follow the rules – what works for someone else doesn’t necessarily work for me. I have never worked from an office, preferring to combine working hard with spending time with my family. There is no right or wrong way of achieving good things, especially when it comes to working. By giving our people the freedom to work in a way that best benefits them, we, as a business, benefit too.
The world of work is changing. Flexible working encourages our staff to find a better balance between their work and private lives, and through this balance they become happier and more productive. It may not be for every industry, organisation, or person, but it has been smart for me, and many others at Virgin. If you trust your people to make their own decisions, they will reward you.
Virgin Money’s ethos of making Everyone Better Off doesn’t just apply to our customers, it’s also extends to the people who make the business a success.
Well done Emily, and thank you for the brilliant work you do.