In this two-part series, we sat down with four L.E.K. Australia consultants to hear about their experiences with flexible working. We spoke about some of the flexible working options available, the benefits and challenges, and advice for others looking to bring more flexibility to their consulting careers.
We started our conversation with Kim Campbell, a Senior Consultant in Melbourne, and Brittany Mitro, a Consultant in Sydney.
How did you get started at L.E.K., and what is your role at the firm now?
Brittany: I started out as an Associate in the L.E.K. San Francisco office and came across to Australia three years ago. I’ve now been a Consultant in Sydney for around six months. I was attracted to L.E.K.’s collaborative and engaging working environment, and I also loved how friendly and interesting everyone was at L.E.K., from associates through to partners.
Kim: My journey with L.E.K. has been a little different from Brittany’s; I joined around seven years ago as a Summer Associate during my undergraduate studies. I love that L.E.K. has let me shape my own path through consulting, including taking an 18-month break to study my MBA. I’m currently a Hybrid Senior Consultant, working part-time on casework and part-time on internal Talent projects at L.E.K.
What is your flex role at L.E.K. and why did you choose this arrangement?
Brittany: There are two main reasons I chose to take up flex: to enable more balance in my life and to create time to study at Melbourne University for my Master of Public Health. In my non-working time, I attend classes and do other things I love, like salsa dancing.
Kim: I chose to shift to a hybrid consulting role because I am passionate about workplace diversity, and I wanted to find a way to explore this passion while continuing my consulting career. I spend four days a week on casework and one day coaching new consultants and leading our Australian Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (E, D & I) strategy.
How does L.E.K. support you in flexible working?
Kim: L.E.K. has provided me with lots of support when it comes to my flexible arrangements. In the early days, the Partner group had an open mind about the different hybrid models I could experiment with and now that I am nine months in, they continue to check in to see how I’m doing. The associates on my teams have been amazing too – very respectful of my need to balance two roles and vocal in their support for more flexible working role models.
Brittany: The idea of flex and of additional study had been swirling in the back of my mind for a while, and once I decided to go for it the process was very smooth. A new contract was created and I have weekly check ins with my case managers and the Talent team to ensure that things are going well. In particular, the partners and managers on my teams have been incredibly supportive – they communicate with me around how we best manage the team together and they make sure not to contact me outside of my reduced hours.
What have been the key benefits of working flexibly at L.E.K.?
Kim: I love that I get to continue to hone my consulting skills on casework, while also using those same consulting skills to help make L.E.K. a more diverse and equitable place for my colleagues to work. I’m excited by the variety of the problems I solve on a daily basis, across casework and ED & I!
Brittany: I am better able to balance work and life, and I make sure to properly disconnect from work in my evenings to focus on study and doing other things I enjoy. It’s been great for making consulting a more sustainable career for me, and I feel like I’m really getting the most out of myself by working this way.
Have you encountered any challenges along the way?
Brittany: Honestly, my flexible working journey has been quite seamless so far. There are times when I finish the day with items remaining on my to-do list; at first this felt unnatural, but I’ve learned to be OK with picking those things back up tomorrow.”
Kim: “Working part-time on casework effectively took a bit of practice, and my team management skills have greatly improved during this process so that associates on my teams are ready to take the lead on my non-casework days. Otherwise, the main challenge is navigating those weeks with public holidays or monthly Back-to-the-Office training days. In those weeks, I have to work even smarter to make sure we stay on track.
What advice do you have for others looking to work flexibly?
Kim: Don’t feel like you need to have a ‘good reason’ to try working flexibly. Whether you have children at home, want to study or volunteer, yearn for more playtime with your puppy, or want a mid-week lie-in, these are all legitimate reasons to seek out flexible work so that you can live your best life.”
Brittany: “Aside from Kim’s great advice, also think about what you need and consider how you could shape a flexible arrangement to work best for you and enable you to have the greatest impact. Follow your own path and explore the possibilities – you can create a flexible model that might never have existed before!