Work-life Balance at Zühlke: The Act of Balancing Private and Professional Life
Thomas Memmel cherishes the family-friendly culture, as well as the flexible working hours and locations at Zühlke, as they give employees a better work-life balance.
You have two different management roles to fulfill: You're a father and a member of the executive board at Zühlke Engineering. Is it a case of double the work or double the pleasure for you?
Raising children is definitely a job in itself, but it doesn’t feel like it (laughs). In all seriousness, though, the youthful spirit of my children is what gives me the energy to meet the day head-on and what helps me unwind in the evening. There’s also the fact that my job is highly varied and inspiring. As Managing Director, I am responsible for ensuring that we help our customers achieve their goals. This means I frequently travel to company sites, visit our teams and have conversations with people there that are largely gratifying. That’s why I’d say my dual role is more ‘double the pleasure’ than anything else. And it certainly plays into maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Your so-called double life has to be a challenge from time to time, though. Have you found a formula to a good work-life balance?
It's only natural to have to overcome conflicts in your job and in your family. For me, they constitute two halves of an energy system: if I’m facing challenges in my job, my family is there to support me. And it works the same the other way around. In general, I rely on rituals to help me. I find it difficult to leave my work at the office, but I don’t want to be elsewhere mentally when I’m spending time with my children. That’s why I look forward to my drive home. For every kilometre I drive, I’m a little bit further away from my job – and the anticipation at seeing my family grows. This is my personal formula to a good work-life balance.
What is Zühlke doing to ensure its employees achieve a work-life balance that works for them?
Many of our employees have families, and they are able to cope, in part, thanks to our flexible working hours and work locations. Generally speaking, dropping off and picking up children are stressful times of the day. At Zühlke, people can work from home, at other offices or at the customer’s site, which often enables them to cut down on the time spent travelling between addresses. We have also set up a parent-and-child office as part of a pilot project. The office contains a workstation for the parents and a play area for the kids. We also recently entered into a partnership with a family service that provides assistance with childcare, support for needy relatives and even help in the household. The most important factor for the right work-life balance, however, is our open, family-focused culture. At the end of the day, even the best facilities are worth nothing if your employees don’t feel comfortable enough to use them.
A personal question to finish off with: What's the difference between Thomas Memmel at home and the man who comes to work each day?
I think I’m pretty similar wherever I go – but if you want an honest answer to your question, you might have to ask my wife (laughs).
INTERVIEW: UTE LIEBIG, PHOTO: JON GODWIN PHOTOGRAPHY
First published on https://mostattractiveemployers.ch/it/zuhlke