Controller in the mornings and a Mum in the afternoons: Ute Giesel achieves the perfect balance between career and family life at Rehm
Ute knew early on that she wanted to combine her career and her family life. When she started working at Rehm in the Controlling Department in 2000, her eldest daughter was just three years old. Her second daughter was born in 2003. Ute knew what she wanted: she wanted to be there for her children but still work on a part-time basis. She never wanted to be a full-time housewife and mother. She has always found coming into the office and having contact with colleagues to be important. However, she was aware that her children would grow up very quickly and didn’t want to miss out. She wanted to spend as much time with them as possible before they grew up.
No cost driver escapes her and no evaluation is too complex for her. At Rehm, Ute is responsible for cost control and planning in the Controlling Department. She prepares product costing analyses for machines, creates monthly or annual accounts and reports to the Management Board. Ute is truly talented in terms of organisation! The challenge of mastering her day-to-day work and still being there for her daughters was made achievable thanks to Rehm’s flexible working time model, which can be adapted to personal circumstances on an individual basis. This means that she still had enough time after finishing work for the day to help her girls with their homework, do some crafts with them or read them their bedtime story.
Ute’s children are now young adults with their own plans for the future. Her youngest daughter is still at school, while her eldest is at university. Ute is concentrating on her work more and now works 75% of full-time hours. By achieving a good balance between her career and family life, she is more motivated and happier. But this business graduate still enjoys juggling the numbers after she’s finished work. “An occupational hazard!”, she admits with a chuckle. It therefore comes as no surprise that her home budget and holiday fund are calculated down to the penny. And she’s always in the black when it comes to the bottom line.
You have been successful in combining your career and family life. How has Rehm supported you with this?
Ute Giesel: I was always very determined... at school, during my Business studies and in my job. Being a mother of two children changes your perspective on lots of things. Or, more precisely, many working mothers believe that they have to choose between their children and their career. My experience shows that there is definitely a “happy medium” for employers and employees if there is mutual understanding and you are committed and communicate clearly with one another. When I started working at Rehm on a part-time basis, my older daughter had just started nursery school. After my second daughter was born, I took the statutory maternity leave and was back at work again just eight weeks after giving birth. In coordination with management, it was never a problem to find a practical solution in terms of arranging my working hours after having children and adapting my working hours to my family life in a flexible manner, reducing or increasing my working hours where necessary. I was even able to work from home on a temporary basis. I am still thankful to Rehm for showing me such great understanding and for helping me to balance my job with my family care responsibilities.
What challenges did you face as a working mother?
U.G.: It was the small things that were challenging. At the time, nurseries were not open all day, for example. That meant that I had to collect my daughters from nursery at 12 noon on the dot. Thanks to my flexible working hours, I was able to handle pretty much everything myself. A story springs to mind here: I had been trying to get a place for my youngest daughter at the only nursery school that offered afternoon childcare at the time. However, there was absolutely no chance of getting a place there because the nursery was in a different catchment area. The Rehm HR team quickly sent an information letter to the city administration which provided this service and asked them to take into consideration the fact that flexible opening hours are essential for working mothers when assigning nursery places. In the end, I did manage to secure a place for my daughter at that nursery! There were also plenty of organisational problems to work through when the kids fell unwell at the last minute or during the school holidays. However, Rehm was always very supportive and I was also able to rely on support from my family.
Why is Rehm the perfect employer for you?
U.G.: My colleagues are very understanding. It has always been very clearly defined that I am only available in the mornings. Because of this, meetings or appointments are scheduled only when I am there too. People also took the school holidays into account when scheduling annual leave. It was never a problem to bring my children along to summer parties or ski trips. And, even on the open day, Rehm organised activities for the little ones, such as face painting. This meant that my daughters were able to learn through play in the place that their Mum spent her days when she was at work. Because of this, there were fewer tears the next morning when we said goodbye. For me personally, another plus point is that my home, my place of work, the nursery and the school are so close together. This makes getting between them easier. This means that I am able to achieve the optimum balance between work and family life – which, in my opinion, is win-win for all involved.