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Schneider Electric

  • > 100,000 employees

Matthew Verhelst - The importance of a flexible work environment

A lot of organisations claim that they support flexible work but very few actively encourage it. I am beyond appreciative of being a part of one of these few companies – as an employee at Schneider Electric.

Family First

My single mother has been battling chronic illnesses for the past 5 years or so. This requires her to go in and out of the hospital for brain surgeries, back surgeries, infections, and everything in between. Through all of this, she has been inspirational in how she supports me and my sister, and is one of the most caring and positive people I have ever known.

The importance of a flexible work environment for Matt

This was on my mind when I was searching for a Graduate role, as I wanted to finally support my hard-working mother financially, while also not compromising on my emotional support for her. To be honest, I had come to terms with the fact that gaining a role that is full of opportunities and career growth would likely mean not being able to look after my mum as much.

Upon spending three months as a Summer intern, I began to pick up on the fact that Schneider practices what it preaches, in that both managers and fellow employees care for each other’s well-being and career growth – in a way that does not compromise their personal lives.

Flexible Work Environment 

Unfortunately, this year my mother needed another high-risk brain surgery. I casually mentioned this to my placement and HR manager, just as an FYI. The first action from each of them, was to tell me how important family is, and to be sure to take as much time as I needed to look after them. From then onward, each one of them actively checked in on me, to ensure I could leave the office and support my family when needed.

I was encouraged to take half a day off multiple times a week, to spend the afternoon and night with my mother in the hospital as needed. Working remotely with teams across the company allowed me to dial into meetings on days I would work from the hospital. I had flexibility around when these meetings could take place in order to fit my schedule.

Carers Leave

I was also heavily encouraged to use Schneider’s carers leave – with its uniqueness lying in the fact that you can take two consecutive days each time you apply, without supplying medical certificates. This provided a breath of fresh air in an understandably stressful time because in my experience, having to consistently supply medical documentation can be a time consuming and tense task.

Carers Leave

I honestly cannot thank Schneider Electric’s supportive and caring culture enough. Their real encouragement to work flexibly, as it suited, took away the added stress around employment, in already very anxious times.

Not only was my mental health in good condition, but it had a huge positive effect on the well-being of my mum, who was able to now have the love, support and companionship of her son, almost every day she was in hospital. It is great to know I have the support of my company every day, both in a career sense, and a personal sense.