She admits that people sometimes find it challenging to not have her around on Fridays but they are still supportive. “In a way, they need to be flexible too. If someone wants to organise a meeting on a Friday, we will always try to find a way of fitting it into the four days I can do.”
There are times when she has to work on a Friday, usually when she needs to travel for business. “It hardly ever happens, though, but when it does, my children understand. I make it a priority to plan things with them on a Friday and without the support of a nanny or helper, my focus needs to be on my home,” she says.
Want to work part-time?
Maggie has become an advocate for part-time working but she admits that it might not fit everyone’s role. “I need to showcase that flexible working can work. My advice to others is to be clear on what your expectations and commitments are before negotiating part-time work with your manager. And then you need to stick to what you believe in.
“You can’t say that you don’t work Fridays but then check your emails or do work as soon as the kids have gone to school. The compartmentalisation between home and work is really important and Shell has been supportive in helping me to achieve that. When you need to decline meetings, give a reason. In this day and age anyone can work in their own flexible way and companies who recognise and support this will retain and develop more talented people. I have colleagues who work late at night in order to spend time with their children during the day.”
So how does she get through her to-do list? “I have the help and support of a great team. As a senior leader, I need to empower them and focus on the top priorities – first things first. You need to let your team do their jobs and only dive in when you are truly needed.”