Having a child and a career? That does not need to be a contradiction, as three colleagues from Germany are explaining to us. To support the reconciliation of work and family life as far as possible is part of Essity’s corporate culture.
Stefan Walz, Project Engineer
Stefan heads the project planning department in Kostheim. Together with his team of five, he manages the large projects and construction projects of paper processing in the plant. Currently, for example, the construction of a completely new processing hall including the relocation of six production lines and a new processing line. The fact that he does this part-time – he has a 75 per cent job and only works four days a week – does not matter to him or his superiors and colleagues.
"When my daughter was born with Down syndrome, it was immediately clear to me: I want to support her as much as possible in her development together with my wife," Stefan recalls. He has been working part-time for eleven years, Laura is going to an inclusive mainstream school – and the family has grown to include twin boys. The 50-year-old has never regretted his decision to work less: "I spend a lot of time with my children and raise them instead of just putting them to bed. I would be very reluctant to do without that."
He was always supported by Essity, says Stefan. "Clearly, I also took over smaller sub-projects in part-time. But when my current job was created, my superiors immediately approached me. And I have a great team with which working together is hugely fun." This keeps his back free on normal working days. "But even if I can't come for a day, it's possible without any problems; I can also work at home if necessary."
Julia Geist, Process Engineer
From paper production to processing to the pulp factory: Julia has already got to know almost all areas of Mannheim production during her ten-year career at Essity. Currently, she is responsible, among other things, for the development of an automated measuring system that analyzes pulp samples. The 37-year-old gets a good balance between her work and family.
"My boss has put a lot of effort into finding a job for me that works part-time, and we are a good team," says Julia. She distributes her 25 hours per week over five days and has to pick up her children on time from kindergarten. "There is a lot on my table. Then we will coordinate the priorities and decide together what needs to be done immediately."
Home office is always possible in an emergency, even if Julia prefers to work directly in the factory with her colleagues. "The biggest challenge for me is actually the childcare times that the kindergarten offers," she admits. In the morning she is often stuck in traffic jams – fortunately no problem, as she can start flexibly in the office. "But at lunchtime I often wish I could pick up my children a little later. More flexible models besides half-day or full-time care are unfortunately still missing in our kindergarten."
Carina Dunkel, process engineer
First maths and chemistry in the performance course, then a dual degree in chemical engineering, followed by her start as a process engineer in Neuss: natural sciences and the complex processes in paper production are among Carina's great passions. That is why the mother-of-two returned immediately after her one-year parental leave; She now works 25 hours a week, spread over two whole days and two half days. "I enjoy my job a lot and I face new challenges every day. This also contributes to our working with natural, renewable raw materials that are constantly changing," says Carina. Since her return, the 31-year-old has been focusing on paper quality, optimizing processes, testing new, improved formulations. "We have divided the tasks in such a way that everything fits well in cooperation with the team and I can get involved really well."
Of course, flexibility is necessary and there is a need on both sides. "The fact that I can also reschedule at short notice, for example when the children are sick, is great and helps me a lot. Conversely, I exchange days when important project dates are coming up," says Carina. In the long term, she wants to work more again. "But as long as my children are young, this is the perfect solution for me."