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Work-life balance Q&A with Anna Willersdorf
A typical day for working mum Anna Willersdorf is busy, to say the least. An early 5:15 am start to the day allows Anna the time to do some yoga/meditation before readying herself for work and preparing her two kids for school. At 7:30 the children are dropped off and at around 8:15 the office day begins - meeting clients and reviewing key accounts across the UAE.
What is it like to be a working mum?
It is different, very different to what I imagined. When I joined PageGroup, I remember thinking I wanted to be the boss of the whole business and I have always strived to be a huge success in every role I have worked in. However, when I had children in 2011, things changed. After spending six months out of the office, I re-joined the workforce with a number of new priorities, both in the office and then at home. It is a challenge to balance, I really want to do both well - continue to be a success in the office and be a great mum - but there are only a limited number of hours in a day. I feel more focused in the office as time is so precious and I try to make every minute count but it’s not easy to learn how to juggle two jobs; my job in the office and my new job as a mother at home.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have just taken up a new role as key account director for the Middle East and Africa which I am very excited about. This role aims to enhance cross-selling between countries, disciplines and sectors. It’s also about building a consistent commercial strategy and coordinating our business development actions in the region.
This role offers me the flexibility to work dynamically in terms of working hours. I am able to drop the children off at school every morning and I am also able to leave earlier on Tuesdays for their after school commitments. Our senior managing director also allows me the flexibility to attend school activities/events such as Christmas concerts, sports days and music demonstrations. To facilitate this I am able to take my lunch break at different times so I can pop in and out of the office and come in late or leave early to work the rest of the day from home.
What has helped you maintain a work-life balance?
My managing directors, Matthew Gribble and Pierre-Emmanuel Dupil, have both been hugely accommodating regarding my role, hours and leave requests etc. I was and still am the only 'working mum’ in the Middle East business. When I first came back to work after my daughter was born in 2011, I re-joined the finance team in a non-managerial role and after my son was born in 2012, I stepped into a learning and development and training role. PageGroup has been super flexible. Now that my children are at school, there have been a number of plays, presentations, assemblies, sports days and parent-teacher conferences that I have needed to attend and my superiors have been very flexible in allowing me to maintain this juggling act between my work life and family.
At home, my nanny is great and without her helping me to maintain our house I would not be able to continue working. She picks the children up from school, manages all after-school activities, cooks dinner and starts the kids on their homework. She also runs all household errands for me and keeps our home in order which means when I fly in the door in the evening after work, I can spend quality time with my children before they need to go to bed. For her, I am very grateful.
If you would like any more information or to discuss how we can help with your recruitment needs within the Middle East and Africa, contact Anna Willersdorf.
T: +971 4 709 0332