WORK YOUR WAY: How do parents work flexibly at Dow Schofield Watts?

It is crucial, particularly now, that we all have a healthy approach to working life. So, for National Work Life week, we asked our working parents how working at DSW helps them to achieve the balance they need.

WORK YOUR WAY How do parents work flexibly at Dow Schofield Watts

As a business, we take significant steps towards protecting the health and well-being of our colleagues. In honour of National Work Life week, we are championing our colleagues’ ways of agile working. A hybrid approach to balancing time spent in the office and at home gives employees the control and flexibility they deserve, especially as parents.

The rise of agile working post-pandemic has provided professionals with the freedom to manage their careers and their home-life accordingly. This also allows them to prioritise effectively, creating an overall better work-life balance. But don’t just take it from us, let our colleagues tell you more about how they work and maintain their commitments as parents.

Ellen – Partner at DSW Business Planning

How does DSW support you as a parent to manage your work/life balance?

DSW has a very flexible approach to working.  There isn’t an expectation that you have to be at your desk 9-5. If the quality of work is maintained and delivered on or before time, then the hours this is completed are largely irrelevant.

We actively promote this within the DSW Business Planning team.  Most of the team have children, some of whom are primary school age, so having the flexibility to be able to be there at school drop off and pick up is invaluable – we all know how short the school day is!  Team members also have outside interests, whether this is golf, horse riding or general fitness.  Being able to fit this into daylight hours and then catch up on work hours, later, helps support mental well-being as well as physical fitness.

I keep Friday morning free every week so that I can join friends out riding – it is the best way I can de-stress after what is typically a busy week of juggling work and family.  DSW colleagues know that I will answer the phone if they need me, but there may well be hoof beats in the background.

How important is flexibility in the workplace when you are a working parent?

Flexibility is massively important generally, but especially so when you are a working parent.  There is always something – school shows, after-school sports, dentist appointments, play dates, sports days.  Kids are only at the age when they want you to come to things for a short amount of time, so being able to show up and support them is a big thing.  DSW has a culture which supports this.  I’ll be in the office as much as I can be because I value the team interaction, but with the more prolific use of Teams and the ability to be more flexible by using virtual meetings rather than always face-to-face, I’m able to keep in touch with the Team and meet with them whilst being round the corner from school when I need to be.

Does your work schedule allow you to spend quality time with your family & give you enough time to relax?

My schedule allows me to spend more quality time with my family as I have the flexibility to move my working hours around. This typically means working early in the morning or later in the evening so I can keep time in the afternoon for the family.  But that is a choice I’ve made and I’m happy with it. The de-stress part typically comes on the weekend, with a large glass of wine on a Friday evening!

Work your way: Flexible Working for Parents
Cath and her family
Cath – Recruitment Manager

What advice do you have for other working parents on how to balance their work and life effectively?

Every parent will have different ways of balancing their job and home life but what works for me is first accepting that I will not get everything right in either area! During busy weeks at work where I am focused on making sure that everything is going smoothly, there will inevitably be things I will forget to do at home or events I cannot attend with the children. Likewise, when there are situations at home that need addressing or my partner is away with work, I may not be as productive as I would like in my job! Finding that balance to make sure you are not overwhelmed by either role is key in my opinion.

I also find that discussing my work commitments with the kids in advance so that they understand what they need to do for themselves is a good way of reducing stress when the week ahead is looking busy! That depends on the ages of the kids though!

Most importantly, tell yourself regularly that you are doing a good job (even if it doesn’t feel like that!) And make sure no matter how busy the day has been, take at least 30 minutes for yourself to clear your mind (walk, read, run, sit in an empty room in silence – my personal favourite!) before it all starts again the next day!

How does DSW support you as a parent to manage your work/life balance?

The support I receive as a parent working for DSW is amazing, there is great flexibility with home/office working where needed, and if I need to move working days around or take a day off at short notice to cover something at home then that is always possible and there is a supportive team here who can assist and cover whenever needed. It’s a very positive environment for working parents.

What does a typical week look like for you as a working parent? How do you balance family time and work schedules?

I work Monday to Thursday, so I can drop the kids at school and either come into the office or work from home, the kids attend the after-school club most days which they love so that helps! There is something on every evening after work and school, all three of my kids play football so training sessions and games are a part of the week, and we cover them between my partner and me. We must be very organised with the timetable, but we are very lucky to have a great network of similarly stretched parent friends and we all help each other out with lifts to clubs, games etc. when needed!

Most of the time it works well but there are lots of challenges and no two weeks look the same, normally everyone gets to where they need to be but if they don’t, we don’t dwell on it.


Stay tuned later in the week to hear Connor and Liz’s approach to balancing home life and work commitments. In the meantime, if you would like to join our network, you can check out our job opportunity at