KeswickSometimes I write my thoughts down to help me work things through. Some of it I make public, some I don’t; ‘working out loud’ I think they call it these days. My writing has brought me into contact with people who encourage me to make a difference and, in turn, I hope what I write is useful for others.

I was impressed by the honesty of a post by Ross Wigham about his writing. Ross made the point that you can never really tell how what you write about will be received; that what you hope will be popular is, and off-the-cuff posts might not be, but in reality it is sometimes different. I respect his views on a lot of stuff.

This blog; ‘between personal and professional’ is about me better understanding and sharing my experiences and thoughts on what I consider my default position as somewhere between work and home, and how it can be made to work, or not. Things in local government, as elsewhere, are changing and we are being asked to be more creative and flexible in how we work. That works for me as I’m a grey area person, but I know that change doesn’t sit as easy with others. So, if me trialling stuff and using this blog helps, then fine. It’s one of the reasons I persist.

I see the need for black and white and rules/boundaries to protect me as well as the organisation but I sometimes find that if you rub the edges hard enough they blur and become grey. I’m a big believer that best practice (the black and white) should be constructively challenged to make it ‘better practice’, and what better way to do that than rub the edges.


I and many others in local government work flexible hours, which cannot be underestimated as a useful benefit; for staff and employer. There are some black and whites but I’ve found to deliver the thinking time I need to be more creative and flexible in my work, I need more grey. So I now sometimes leave early, head home, go to the gym or just make tea as it takes my mind off things and creates thinking time. I then do an hour after tea when family are doing their thing. Sometimes that quality time is 5-7 am if I’m awake early.

I’ve trialled this for a while and it works for me, my family and work. My colleagues know they get the best out of me as an employee and a manager if they let me tinker a bit and who doesn’t like their tea cooked once in a while?

It has made a big difference to my well-being and quality of work.  We manage office cover and I respect others wanting to do similar if it works for them. It’s us being creative and managing our work life balance and also looking out for each other. For many organisations who are downsizing office space then flexible working will no doubt become the new 9-5.

50 shades of grey might appeal to some but sometimes just one does the trick.