What homeworking means to me as a working mum

As a working mum and recording artist, the flexible schedules and support provided by Sensée makes a massive difference to Kirsty. Here is her story.

After many years working in Account Management roles within the food supplies sector, and then helping build a start-up solar energy business, Kirsty decided on a career change.

When not working, she is a recording artist and plays lots of gigs, which is demanding on her time in terms of rehearsals, travel etc. She also wanted a better work-life-balance.

Kirsty sought a part time role and, after finding Sensée online and successfully applying in 2015, she started work as a service adviser for a leading UK car breakdown service. She quickly fell in love with homeworking and was promoted to a Quality Analyst and, in 2018, to a Team Leader working for a well known insurance brand.

In late 2018 her biggest dream came true and her daughter was born. Kirsty is raising her daughter on her own due to circumstances out of her control and started to build a close support network with her family and friends.

Kirsty returned to work at Sensée for the same insurance client in January 2020. However it hasn’t been all plain sailing. In April 2020, for example, she was forced to isolate with her 14 month old daughter due to a Covid outbreak at nursery and was quickly forced to seek help.

Kirsty’s managers placed her onto an account which would allow her the flexibility she needed to raise her daughter and maintain her income.

Throughout lockdown, Kirsty adjusted her schedules to fit in meetings around her daughter’s naps and other times when she would be quieter or could be easily distracted (e.g. with Pepper Pig!). She even occasionally brought her along to team meetings.

While there were times when things got tricky as her daughter started to find her feet and became more adventurous, Kirsty has had constant support – with team members more than willing to jump in and cover matters as and when required. Her daughter became an account mascot and everyone was made up to see her big smile in weekly huddles.

Kirsty works a 40 hour week and that sometime means working 7 days a week, and during evenings, to fit in all her hours. “Things have been tough for many colleagues during lockdown and I frequently hear people say we are all in same boat” says Kirsty “But I’m not sure any other job would allow that me the degree of flexibility I have at Sensée”.

As we emerge from lockdown, her daughter is back at nursery and thriving. Working at Sensée allows Kirsty to work around her nursery pick up and drop off times without a long commute, as well as maintain a great work-life balance.

My story: Sean

After serving an apprenticeship as a software engineer and then working in the catering trade, making his way up to head chef, Sean decided on a change of career.

“I wanted to retrain and gain a professional qualification but that’s difficult when you’re working full time and commuting two hours a day” explains Sean.

After successfully applying for a role at Sensée in July 19, he has been working with the Allianz Partners team while at the same time studying part time at the Open University for a law degree.

“Flexibility is a huge factor in why working from home is ideal for me. I can log off for the day and be straight into my studies without wasting any time.

Working for Sensée has also helped me massively with my study discipline and I use the same rules that I follow for work towards my studying (set hours for studying, phone in the other room, nobody in my office – and no distractions!).

My story: Linda

For 9 years Linda worked as a software architect in the telecoms industry designing and building call centres. The job involved a lengthy daily commute to work. 

However in 2014 Linda was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a condition that affects the body’s collagen, creating joint issues and causing ligaments to tear easily.  Commuting to work became emotionally difficult as well as painful and exhausting.  

A change of lifestyle was required and Linda decided to move to the countryside.  However this made the commute even trickier.  With the country bus service quite unreliable, she turned to cycling but that just added to her stress – worrying all the time about what the weather would be like the next day.

Things improved for Linda when her employer have her the opportunity to work from home. Unfortunately though she was made redundant and started to become really worried about finding another role that would allow her to homework.

In March 2019, Linda came across Sensée and applied for a work from home role on the Bupa account.  When she heard her application was successful, she felt a weight removed from her shoulders. “Not having to stress about commuting has massively helped my physical and mental health” she explains. “and the support I’ve received from my Team Leader and colleagues has been outstanding. I’ve not felt pressured in any way and have never met two companies that are so good, and so understanding, when it comes to mental health.”

“Flexibility is key to why it works for me.  While I work for 30 hours a week I can’t work more than 4 hours at a time because of my joints aching.  So I’ll typically work from 9 till 1, then have a break and work from 2.30 – 4.30.  If I can’t make a planned schedule then there’s nearly always a colleague that can step in who is happy to do a shift swap.  In the future I’d like to move on to do some virtual floor walking duties and longer term to possibly get back into training, and maybe a Deputy Team Leader role.  It’s fantastic that such opportunities exist in a homeworking role.”

My story: Jade

In October 2019, Jade saw an advert on an online recruitment site for customer advisers to work on the Sensée Bupa account and successfully applied. She has never looked back.

In her previous job working in the call centre of a large telecoms company, she struggled with a culture she found intimidating and distracting.  “It was like working in a school playground” she says “and it started to affect my mental health”.

Things have been very different since joining Sensée though.  “There’s no gossip culture and I’m more relaxed, meaning I’m more enthusiastic, focused and helpful. I love virtual floorwalking and helping out colleagues. Working for Sensée has also afforded me the time to study part time for a Psychology with Counselling degree while holding down a full down a full time job.  I work 35 hours Monday to Saturday but try and dedicate Tuesdays to studying.  Working for Sensée has been a saving grace!”

My Story – Kathryn

Where do you live? Berkshire

What’s your background? Before joining Sensée I worked in Catering and Hospitality. I am a mother to two girls.

Why did you join Sensée? I was looking for a full-time career role that would be both challenging and rewarding and, critically, allow me to work from home so I could spend more time with my children.

What’s your role at Sensée? In 2010, I successfully applied for a role at Sensée as a customer service agent. I took well to the role, became a top performer, and within weeks was promoted to Team Leader. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I progressed to an Account Manager (serving Rank Interactive and Photobox) and am now a Service Delivery Manager overseeing the Allianz and L&G accounts and disaster recovery.

What do you feel about working for Sensée? Working from home not only gives me the flexibility to fit work around my parental responsibilities but also a fulfilling career. I work with a great team of people and although we work apart, we’re always in contact whether that be over IM, the Sensée LiveDesk or phoning each other when we’re on breaks. The flexibility to choose my own shifts is also key. I love the peace and quiet of homeworking and honestly don’t miss anything about the office… except maybe the coffee breaks!

“Kathryn oozes commitment and a hunger for being great at all she does. In turn, the team respect and look up to her. She does this so effortlessly whilst being a mum of 2 – I think that’s amazing!”

Ravinda Chana, Customer Support Manager, Photobox

My Story: Olamide

Where do you live? London

What’s your background? I previously worked in another contact centre homeworking company where I was self-employed.  I have a degree in architecture.  

Why did you join Sensée? When I had my first child in 2012 I was forced to give up my job as it wasn’t possible to be absent for over 30 days as a self-employed contractor.  I was attracted to Sensée when I learnt that it was a fully-employed role that supported new mums and provided the flexible hours that would enable me to work around my childcare duties.

What’s your role at Sensée? I joined Sensée in 2012 as a HomeAgent on the Rank account.  Shortly afterwards I became pregnant with my second child.  After returning to work I moved to the Photobox account as a Deputy Team Leader, and now work across two L&G teams (15 HomeAgents) in the same role.  I’ve been fortunate during my time with the company to assist in many different areas. This has included helping out the Recruitment Team and more recently delivering Retentions Upskill Training on behalf of L&G.   

What do you feel about working for Sensée? I love the work, the variety of my role and especially the way it allows me to work around my childcare duties.  Typically I start at 9am after dropping off my kids (now aged 6 and 8) and work till 3pm.  I then work later after settling them down after school.  We have lots of people in the company in a similar position to myself – single dads, working mums, others who are carers for relatives who require doctor and hospital appointments – and we’re all appreciative of the situations of others.  It’s not uncommon for people to fill in for others using our ‘skill swap’ facilities when they can’t make a shift because of an unexpected event.  We may all work remotely but team members have so much connection simply via typing.  I think I’m an example of living the Sensée dream… I have been given the opportunity to do things I never expected to do in my career.

My story: Owen

Where do you live? West Sussex

What’s your background?  I left University in 2017 with a Retail Marketing degree.  After a spell in sales, I joined Sensée in 2018.

Why did you join Sensée? There was lots of pressure in my sales role, lots of commuting and I didn’t feel much job satisfaction.  I wanted more freedom, less formal hours and I was attracted to the Sensée virtual model.

What’s your role at Sensée?  I joined the company as an Agent for a parcel delivery client.  After 9 months I was promoted to Team Leader and, in 2018, moved to a Team Leader position with SSE, managing a team of 14 agents.  I support them in real time within the Sensée LiveDesk environment as well as by one-to-one communications via email and phone.  I also manage IT issues on behalf of the team, conduct weekly and fortnightly performance reviews, hold weekly client meetings, and send out daily stats to agents and other managers.

What do you feel about working for Sensée? I love working with my team, trying to create a great team spirit and sense of community with fun, competitions and camaraderie.  I want my team to enjoy the benefits of homeworking and not miss out because they are not in a physical office. I’m also ambitious and see lots of opportunity to progress within the company.