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Be as flexible as you need to be

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Patricia Kolly is a woman with many years’ experience in the AXA sales force. She has been a customer advisor for more than 12 years and loves her job. “I’m currently in the process of preparing for my insurance qualification”, reports Patricia who comes from Western Switzerland. Her example as a single mother shows that a working situation does not have to be completely changed around whenever the family situation changes. Patricia has worked full-time since 2006, but simply changes where she works every now and then. Thanks to Smart Working, she can flexibly work from wherever she likes. As a mother, this flexibility gives her the valuable opportunity to spend more time with her now eight-year-old son.

Learning how to flexibly divide up working hours

Since Patricia became a mother, she has been working flexibly, working from home on some days: “When I’m at home, I have to divide up my working hours a bit differently. In the morning, I start work very early. In the evening, I often take care of things off that may have piled up during the day, such as preparing offers for customers or answering emails.” During the day, she can be reached by her customers, her employer or colleagues on all communication channels, including via Teams.

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    Portrait: Patricia Kolly

    She’s been working as an insurance advisor in the general agency in Lausanne since 2006. Thanks to AXA’s Smart Working model, her work place is also at home sometimes. Despite working full-time, it enables the AXA employee to enjoy time with her son.

More self-discipline when working from home

But Smart Working on this day doesn’t change the fact that Patricia is well organized and has to be disciplined. Grandparents usually help out after school, but the child’s father is also involved in her son’s care. For example, her day working from home doesn’t have any set pattern: “I also have to gear myself to my work in the sales force and be able to react to unexpected circumstances.”

When Patricia works from the office at the general agency in Lausanne, she is often out of the office visiting customers. “When I’m in the office, I deal with pending matters. I then use the opportunity to sort out the more complicated cases.” And what is it like working in the sales force where customers would tend to expect men as insurance advisors? This can sometimes be noticeable, such as in specific negotiation meetings. “That’s when customers would expect a male employee to be there”, she grins. But things are changing and there are more and more women working in this job. And also because job and family are today seen more as an entity and because opportunities are available that would have previously been unthinkable.

 

My flexible workplace

My job is full-time and I work from home at least once a week. Thanks to these flexible working arrangements, I can spend time with my son when he needs me. That’s an advantage for me as a single mother.

Juggling my time needs a great deal of discipline and a clear order of priorities. This flexibility means that I can meet the needs of my customers and my family. Without Smart Working, it would be complicated organizing my daily schedule with my son. Thanks to this working model from AXA, I can combine my private and working life. And: Rather than sitting in traffic, I use this hour for work!

This is a plus for the company.

I’ve been working as an insurance advisor since 2006. Even now, as a mother of a school-age son, I can play a full part and continue to use my knowledge 100%. But it also needs trust on the part of her employer of course. Applying flexibility to the working day needs more self-discipline, but it also has very nice benefits.

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