< Back

Adachukwu's flexible working story

In this Q&A, we speak to Adachukwu Okoh, a lawyer, military wife, and mum, to find out how remote working has changed her life.

13th May 2024

Flexible working has transformed the way we live and work, giving us the freedom and balance we've all been craving. It lets people tailor their schedules to fit their unique lifestyles, working how and where they want. To find out more about the impact of remote and flexible work arrangements, we're sharing real success stories from those who have experienced the benefits firsthand.

Name: Adachukwu Okoh

Job role: Lawyer specialising in HR, general legal practice and compliance.

What’s your flexible working set up? Fully remote

1. How has flexible working improved your productivity and job satisfaction?

Flexible working has improved my productivity and job satisfaction tremendously. For productivity, I do not always enjoy a daily commute to work. I find that I am exhausted coming back and having to leave the house every day can be tiring. After I got pregnant, I had to leave legal practice for a while as I didn’t find any virtual law firm at that time. 

It was difficult having to give my best at work and go through my first pregnancy which was so new to me. After I gave birth, I discovered flexible working. It was phenomenal. Now I am more productive because when I wake up in the morning I don’t have to worry about getting to work, the transportation system, or even days I am not mentally ready to go out. I stay home and still get my tasks done. This has given me job satisfaction because I feel I can contribute to the organisation where I find myself and work on my self-development. 

I struggled with worries about my life being over after my baby, still growing professionally and being able to enjoy motherhood. Flexible working greatly helped me in these areas.

2. Can you share specific examples of how flexible working has made it easier to manage your personal and professional responsibilities?

Here are some specific examples of how flexible working has made it easier for me to manage my personal and professional responsibilities.

  • As a mom and military wife, I am used to not seeing my husband for months. I can take care of our toddler and still work at the same time because of flexible working. It helps me keep my mind busy and it's amazing to still pursue your goals while enjoying motherhood.
  • A major thing I struggled with is how quickly you will need to change jobs and get childcare assistance especially when moving to a new place. With flexible working, I just need a laptop and I don’t have to worry about that. It’s also great for childcare because I don’t miss out on milestones and worry less about who will look after my child.
  • Seeing family is a lot easier. Typically you will need to get permission for a set number of days which is your leave to travel or for a sick day off. Flexible working helps move around, especially for things like sick days and it makes school runs easier. 
  • It has given me a level of freedom. On days I finish my tasks early I can eat chocolate and cook. I can do house chores and it’s so amazing to not have to rush somewhere every morning.

3. Have you experienced any challenges or obstacles related to flexible working, and if so, how have you overcome them?

Some challenges I have faced are:

  • Maintaining balance: Some days are those days when family responsibilities and life would happen. I find myself putting in extra time to make up for it. I also struggled with not knowing when to switch off, and not checking notifications or the agenda for the next meeting. I am still working on it but I set boundaries. I learned to share my tasks within hours. There is less noise at home and on days unplanned tasks come up, I deal with them with a positive mindset. Taking breaks during the day has also helped me. 
  • Networking and technology challenges: Living in West Africa means we have network connectivity issues and blackouts. It also means top-tier technology gadgets are expensive to acquire. For the network, I had to acquire a wifi and two different networks just in case one had issues. I am lucky to be living in an area with a constant power supply but having an inverter helps greatly.
  • Following my career trajectory: I couldn’t find virtual firms or legal firms ready to give me the flexibility I needed so I pivoted to admin and operations.  It was a blessing in disguise and opened my mind. I have discovered some niches in legal and HR I am interested in exploring. I plan to take it one step at a time when I have more flexibility in my life responsibilities.

4. How do you think flexible working has contributed to your career growth and development?

Flexible working helped me gain a second chance at my career. I tell my fellow young moms that we have a greater advantage because of the internet and remote working than our mother's generation had. I can build my career from home, run a business, and even share my professional expertise while breastfeeding. It’s a win-win. 

After graduating top of my law class and law school, many told me I was destroying my life because I married quite young (right after my call to the bar). I always knew I wanted a family and a fulfilling professional career. I had seen women do it and do it well. Flexible working contributed strongly to my career growth and development. I used my nursing days to take courses, and internships, read, and build character. Now I can advance in my career and grow professionally because I am not constrained to one location.

I have read more than 10 books this year and completed leadership programs including one by the Aspire Institute this quarter alone. I was able to watch my son perform at school, take care of my family, and meet my needs while working from home. I had to sacrifice sleep and other things but I didn’t need to abandon my dreams because no one would give me a chance. Flexible working gave me that chance.

5. Is your company supportive of you working flexibly? Are there any policies they have in place that have helped you?

Yes, they are. I love the fact that they recognise my skills and understand that being a mom is not a liability. I am given flexibility in the timeframe for tasks and it’s nice.

6. If you work for yourself, how has flexible working helped with this?

 I do freelancing and offer professional consulting for legal services and HR too. I hope to build it into a thriving and sustainable business. It’s amazing to know that I can provide solutions from my laptop, without a complex arrangement and flexible timing. 

Share your flexible working story with us! 

We want to hear how flexible working has transformed your life. Tell us about the challenges you've overcome, the benefits you've enjoyed, and the impact it has had on your daily routine. Your insights can inspire others on their journey towards a more flexible and fulfilling work life. If you're interested, you can answer our quick survey here, and we'll get back to you to learn more about your experience.