Joe Hughes, a Senior Audit Manager based in Manchester, discusses how Azets supports him as a working dad.
I’m a senior audit manager in our Manchester office which means that I handle a diverse client portfolio keeping everyday different and interesting. I enjoy working with clients, predominantly through managing statutory audit assignments, but also on wider business topics. My role also involves working closely with our trainees helping them progress through their apprenticeships on the road to becoming qualified Chartered Accountants.
Outside of work, I’m a proud husband and father of two young children, who are five and two. This keeps me busy for most of my free time whether that be helping with school work, swimming and dance lessons or family days out.
I’m also a keen runner and football fan, so when I’m not with my family you can usually find me running around a local park or at Old Trafford.
Being a dad to two children under six is inevitably busy and balancing a full-time job alongside this requires organisation. However, due to the agile working policy of Azets I’m able to do both. I plan my week in advance and where I will work from whether that be from home (if I need to pick up children from after-school club or attend special assemblies), at a client premises for meetings or to work with our on-site audit team, or in the office. I’m lucky in that many of my colleagues either have young children of their own, or have recent knowledge of it having been through this stage of life themselves.
One policy, or event, Azets arranged that particularly sticks out in my memory was during lockdown in 2020. The firm recognised the difficulties employees were facing balancing work with children being at home 24/7 and also the effect this would have had on the children themselves, so they arranged various free sessions over Zoom which children could participate in such as a magic show or dance classes. My eldest loved participating!
In terms of parental leave, I attended all the scan appointments and medical appointments together with taking a couple of weeks paternity leave for both of my children.
In terms of paternity leave – my experience of this was before the recent changes. However, the processes in place were easy to follow and readily accepted by Azets. The birth of my youngest didn’t go 100% to plan which resulted in him having to spend some time in NICU. This was obviously a stressful time for my family but I knew that I had the full support of my colleagues and employer.
The experiences everyone has had over the past couple of years has often brought home just how important family is and that leading a balanced life between home and work is key. To that end, I’m glad Azets have their people at the forefront of their policies. The focus on people, people development and supporting their employees, not least through family friendly policies, is something that makes me feel comfortable with my place of work. Often companies focus on profits and company performance first – whilst this is important, I believe that if you look after the people behind the numbers, the financial performance looks after itself – Azets certainly looks after its people.
Think about the difference the policies will make to the well being of your employees. The benefits to your company of having a workforce who feel supported and cared for are vast.