Balancing working and parenting through COVID-19!

“I’m Fay Walker. I have been with Vodafone for 7 years and I am one of the Retail Regional Managers in the North division, leading 26 stores, including 9 Partner Agent businesses. Usually, my day to day would be in the car early travelling from store to store, working with the retail teams to support commercial and customer performance. With lockdown restrictions in place, we were unable to visit stories and my role has been done entirely from home. 


Our biggest challenge was going from trading stores, to then suddenly closing the stores down safely and securely when the lockdown came. This also included reopening the region virtually as a web-based connectivity centre to support our contact centres. Setting up this virtual environment meant sending laptops out safely to all our teams’ home addresses, challenging enough you may think, but I have had a rather sassy toddler helping me out twenty four seven!


I’m really lucky that I don’t have any home schooling to try and do and my son isn’t very interested in craft – but he seems to have developed a fascination with all the dangerous items in my house, garden and garage, and keeping my eye on him while trying to work has been very tricky! I have come off Skype calls to find him applying my lipstick as eye liner saying “mummy I look just like you”.


Vodafone has been brilliant in easing my concerns when we first got the news that nursery would be closed and I have been able to work 100% from home with no problems. As have all the parents in the retail store teams. Flexibility for me to work around my son’s natural sleep pattern and routine has been really effective – so I do lots of work from 6am before he gets up and multitask through breakfast time up until lunch. We have an extended lunch break together and we go out for our daily walk to Dinosaur Mountain (just a hill near our home), then he has an afternoon nap for 3 hours and I get all the rest of my work done; carrying on working when dad gets home. Should I have needed to, Vodafone offers parental leave which I could have used in daily or weekly chunks to ease the pressure, and of course moving my holidays would also have been an option. I can’t lie and say it’s not been stressful – but that’s all been down to anyone hearing mummy 16,736 times a day! Not the work.


So between the incredible flexibility of Vodafone and some creative solution based thinking (as well as lots of YouTube parenting and sugary bribes), it’s been really achievable to continue to perform my role all through the lockdown.”

To find out more about our retail sector click below.

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