"After having life-saving surgery three years ago, my perspective has shifted, and I try to place a lot more importance on prioritising my health & wellbeing"

Chris Daykin, Corporate Partnerships Manager for an incredible charity called Support Dogs tells us about why flexible working matters to him.

24th Mar 2021

Hi there! As part of our campaign to #NormaliseFlexibleWork we are publishing a series of interviews with brilliant people for whom flexible working is key to success.

We believe that flexible working should be for everyone, but there are still dated perceptions and stigmas around flexible working that we desperately want to shift. Without offering flexible working to everyone, we can’t achieve true equality as there will be a “normal” way of working for most people and those who can’t work “normally” will be treated differently and “othered”.

Today we are delighted to be featuring Chris Daykin who has an amazing story about why flexibility matters to him

Can you introduce yourself and what you do (professionally and for fun!)?

My name is Chris and I am the Corporate Partnerships Manager for an incredible charity called Support Dogs. We are a small national charity that save and improve the quality of life for children and adults affected by autism, epilepsy, and physical disability. We provide, train and support specialist assistance dogs to achieve this. Outside of work I like to be as active as I can, whether that be football, golf, climbing or exploring the Peak District with my girlfriend, Alex, and Cocker Spaniel puppy, Rosie.

Why does flexible working matter to you? 

Flexible working allows me to manage my life with a chronic auto-immune condition called Ulcerative Colitis. After having life-saving surgery three years ago, my perspective has shifted, and I try to place a lot more importance on prioritising my health & wellbeing. Where once I may have ploughed on through anything, I now listen to my body and give it the breaks it needs. Working around what my body needs gives me time to take care of myself both physically and mentally, which ultimately means I can produce the standard of work that I expect of myself.

What has flexible working allowed you to do? 

As well as managing my condition it also allows me to have a better work/life balance. A major symptom of my condition is fatigue, so often I do not have the energy to exercise after a day at work plus 1.5 hours commuting. Work-from-home days allow me to feel fresher at the end of a working day, meaning I have the energy to exercise and do things I enjoy without feeling totally wiped out. The ability to manage my own schedule means I don’t have to choose between having a normal life or keeping well, which means I still have time in the day to look after my best pal, Rosie!

What do you think needs to change in terms of working environments? 

Lockdown has provided companies with the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate how they want their businesses and teams to work moving forward. With remote/flexible working and hot desking likely to become the new normal post-pandemic, I’d like to see employers making the most of that freed-up space for exercise and relaxation areas for staff. Some companies have already started doing this and I hope it is something that becomes common place moving forward. 

What do you think has the biggest impact on flexible working uptake?

Employers trusting their staff to work well independently, without needing to be in a physical office of being supervised like children. Being able to create an environment of genuine mutual trust should help this, and hopefully show employers that they can trust their staff to deliver while working in a way which suits them. 

Would you like to add anything else?

Well, I know a lot of your ‘Flexified’ companies are dog-friendly, so it would be remiss of me not to mention our charity partnerships! We offer a fantastic variety of fundraising & staff/client engagement experiences and can provide you with the opportunity to follow a dog that you help fund on its journey to becoming a life-changing superhero support dog. If you’re looking for a new charity partner, then please get in touch to learn more. 

To learn more about support dogs, check them out here.