08 April 2021
Topics in this article
  • Capability & Skills
  • People

Two proximites share their stories about how they achieve their personal and career goals

Achieving a good work-life balance has always been a priority at Proxima; from spending quality time with family, to pursuing hobbies outside of work. With the shift to working from home and our professional and private lives becoming blurred, we recognize more than ever the importance of supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of our colleagues through achieving this balance.

While working in procurement is highly rewarding, there are also challenges that come with the role that put pressure on time, which means we have measures in place to help our colleagues achieve their personal and work goals. We understand there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so we have a varied working policy that encourages agile and flexible working to allow our teams to deliver fantastic results while simultaneously achieving personal growth.

We spoke to Kate Joyce, Principal Consultant in our Chicago office, and Mike Bridge, Research Analyst in our Cwmbran office, to find out more about how Proxima has helped them strike a balance.

Kate Joyce, Principal Consultant

Kate has nearly five years’ experience working with Proxima, advising clients and shaping their procurement strategies. She has a busy family life with two young children in preschool, and wears multiple hats as a wife, daughter, neighbor, sister and friend. Inside Proxima, she is not only a great delivery lead, but she is also a mentor, manager and board member on our Gender Equality Network committee.

What does a work-life balance mean to you?

I’m constantly balancing my personal life and delivering successful outcomes for clients – which pretty much sums up my work-life balance! It’s incredibly important for me to maintain a high bar of expectations and delivery, and when I do that, it makes the time spent with family much more enjoyable. I feel good about the work I’m putting in and don’t need to stress about it when I’m elsewhere.

Outside of my role at Proxima, I also like staying active and volunteering for the local school board caucus. I recognize the importance of taking time for myself, as self-care enables me to be good in all the roles I fill, especially as an effective leader in the organization.

Proxima allows me to fulfil my professional contributions and roles outside of work simultaneously, which helps me navigate this new normal while considering my family, friends, and co-workers. Whether it’s working with a client or with our Proxima team, working with others to create positive outcomes is incredibly satisfying. It’s also satisfying when our kids go down for bedtime when they should!

How has Proxima supported your work-life balance?

Proxima has continuously supported my work-life balance and created a seamless process for me to move between family and work priorities. I feel fortunate to have the best of both worlds, especially with the flexibility to manage my own schedule, which enables me to spend time with my kids, drop them off at school when needed, and attend conference calls with my colleagues during the day.

Proxima trusts me to deliver, and I trust my colleagues to take care of what needs to be done during the time I need to spend with family and community – we have each other’s backs. As a result of this flexibility and trust, I am more productive with my client workload, my volunteer work, and in my personal life.

How has working from home impacted your work-life balance?

Working from home has provided me with more freedom to balance my client responsibilities with family responsibilities.

Working from home also hasn’t stopped me from pursuing the things I’m passionate about in the workplace. I am proud to be part of the team which launched Proxima’s Gender Equality Network committee, which creates panels and webinars to inspire teams and actively encourages work-life balance.

Mike Bridge, Research Analyst

Mike Bridge has over eight years’ experience in procurement and also has a passion for mental health. Proxima’s flexible working commitment has given him time to study for a qualification in counselling.

What does a work-life balance mean to you?

For me, work-life balance means allocating time to fulfil my work responsibilities, putting aside time to learn something I feel passionate about, and spending time with my family.

I have always had an active home life, however this year, work-life balance has become even more important to me as I take steps to pursue my passion for mental health by becoming a trained counsellor. This means a full day of learning each week, as well as attending evening sessions to get the skills and qualifications I need.

How has Proxima supported your work-life balance?

I’ve always been passionate about mental health, so Proxima’s support has been incredibly important. My supervisor worked closely with me from the start to help strike the right balance between work and learning, so I can dedicate time to both without feeling burnt-out.

Managing study, work and family has been tiring and difficult at times, but my colleagues are incredibly supportive and understanding, helping me to manage my time effectively. I take regular breaks throughout the day, which keeps me motivated.

Proxima has put great emphasis on team spirit, even when we can’t be together. I’ve taken part in initiatives such as the Walk the World, where colleagues were encouraged to get outside to clock up steps, and also coffee catch ups, when we dedicate time to check-in with our colleagues.

How has working from home impacted your work-life balance?

Working from home has meant that my work-life balance has evolved to include greater emphasis on flexibility. From the beginning, Proxima emphasised the idea we don’t need to be glued to computer screens all day. At the same time, for those who were confined to a smaller living space or craved social interaction, Proxima arranged a scheme for office access in line with government guidelines and restrictions easing.

Working from home hasn’t been without challenge – It’s been characterised by shouting children, pets walking across the screen and cups of tea being made in the background. Despite these challenges, Proxima has helped to make integrating with new people and processes seamless and I feel proud to be part of the business’ unique culture.

Watch below to hear Kate talk about Proxima’s work-life balance, before the pandemic hit.

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