We spoke with Maxine Lace, Director at Stonehage Fleming on work-life balance.

What does flexible working mean to you, and how has this made a difference in your work life?

After Covid, it became clear that people valued the flexibility of a hybrid working model. Stonehage Fleming very quickly introduced a ‘3-in-5’ policy, switching staff from PCs to laptops to make this change possible.  

Today, we have seen a shift in people’s habits and the majority of our team works in the office on a daily basis, preferring to maintain a separation between work and home life.

I believe it is important for us as a business to offer employees the option of flexible working to remain competitive in the market. It allows people to adapt their working practice to enable them to keep working when circumstances change. For me, it is empowering to have this facility even though it may not be required very often. It is a demonstration that employers and employees consider each other’s needs in the pursuit of the objectives of the business.

Although no one has a long commute in the Isle of Man, Stonehage Fleming offers flexibility around a work/life balance for working parents or those with other caring responsibilities.

As my colleagues have commented:

‘Flexible working allows me to manage my life at home as well as at work. It helps me to achieve the right balance between both in terms of time and personal capacity. I can be there for some pick-ups and drop-offs and I am grateful – though working – to have the opportunity to feel present in my children's day-to-day.’

‘Flexible working is based on mutual trust. I feel that my employer trusts me to manage my own personal/work life balance and understands that modern family life is often tricky to juggle around traditional working hours. Everything gets done one way or another and the pressure is removed. For me, it is the embodiment of teamwork.’ 

‘A hybrid working model allows me to manage my priorities. Although the onus is on me to honour my work commitments, I do so happily, knowing I've achieved it while looking after my family and myself. I value the fact that my employer is committed to helping me achieve this.’ 

‘For me, flexible working means that I can spend valuable time with my little boy, while still being able to have a career that I enjoy and which I’ve worked very hard for. It also means that I can continue to contribute financially to the household which is also important.’

How have you been inspired in the past and how have you helped inspire others?

Being true to myself and to others has always been my mantra. It is vital to know and understand your weakness as well as your strengths; in short, being self-aware.  I believe that if we can accept our weaknesses, we can either choose to turn them into strengths or to make peace with them.

My own weakness may be my colleague’s strength. That doesn’t make it a negative. I subscribe to a growth mindset, not only growing my own abilities but those of colleagues around me. For me, this is the best way of inspiring and empowering them.  

What positive change have you witnessed in recent years? And challenges?

One positive change is that the corporate world has become more open minded over the last several years. This has led to change in people’s thinking and behaviour in the workplace. I believe that colleagues feel more valued and included which boosts employee engagement and widens access to the best talent pool. 

Freedom from judgement is essential for people to feel that work is a safe environment.

I believe that understanding neurodiversity in the workplace is very important, not just from an employee perspective but also when providing client services. I hope to see more awareness and acceptance going forward. A diverse workforce can provide valuable insights into different customer preferences, needs and expectations. 

What are words you live by?

Love the life you live. Laugh, dream, sing, dance, smile, give, work.

You have to dance a little in the morning before you leave the house because it changes the way you walk out in the world.

I love to see people grow in whatever they do or set out to achieve, I believe nothing is for free, and not everything is for life - go live your dreams.