Warwick - "Flexible arrangements allowed me to take ownership and control."


In 2019 I was diagnosed with cancer. I felt unsure of the future as the outcome was so unknown. My role at Allianz was an important and positive constant in my life and I doubted my abilities to continue working. So, going into work to tell my manager - yeah, I was worried. Gratefully, my manager Russell and his manager Anna, were incredibly generous and supportive when I told them about my health and treatment plans. They wanted to accommodate whatever I needed to manage my circumstances including going on extended sick leave if I needed it. During my chemo treatment and recovery through June to November, Allianz supported me to access flexible working arrangements, altering my work days and hours. From a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 desk jockey, I transformed into a Monday to Sunday, 7am to 6.30pm fluid worker. This enabled me to still maintain my usual weekly workload, while not overly impacting my team, plus manage my medical appointments and low energy cycles. I was also able to work from home when my immunity levels dipped. Being mindful that changes to my lifestyle would flow through to my colleagues, I set up a calendar and timetable with my manager so there was transparency and clarity on my movements. Looking back on that time, what Allianz and my managers gave me is a gift that I struggle to put into words. Their support and the flexible arrangements allowed me to take ownership and control - a powerful tool. This provided me certainty, strength and confidence to stay focused and in the game. This in turn gave me a greater sense of self-worth; that I truly mattered. I was connected and engaged with my colleagues and was doing meaningful work. Being trusted also felt good – it was motivating and helped me focus on the positive contribution I was making for the long term. So much so I even took on more responsibility and built new skills. By the end of my treatment I only needed one sick day off. Phew! Beating cancer while still making a contribution at work has taught me so much. I know that I matter, that I can prosper and survive regardless of the hurdles I may face. That it’s also important to work within your limits and have self-compassion, especially when you are on a low ebb and unable to do what you want to do. I’m now back to full-health and enjoying my role as a Senior Business Analyst. I get to be an investigator, a mentor, a designer, a talker (and listener) and see how things work from start to finish. I’ve bounced back with certainty and belief; it’s like I was never away.