We interview Principal Consultant Tim Walker about how he makes flexible working work for him, all the way from Poland.

15 Februrary 2017

Name: Tim Walker 
Role: Principal Consultant
Practice: Life Sciences (Global)
Niche: Quality Assurance and Technical Operations
Based: Ustroń, Poland


What’s unique about Tim’s set-up is that although he’s part of our global Life Sciences team that has its HQ in London, he works and lives 1,000 miles away! Tim’s wife is Polish and when his daughter was born they decided to move their family from London to Ustroń, a ski resort and spa town in Silesia, southern Poland, around 125km from Krakow. 

Making the move
I began to have a conversation with our then COO about 18 months prior to moving (in 2016). I’d like to think that I had proved myself to the business and to Hydrogen’s credit they agreed to it. At that point I’d been with the business since 2013.

Network capability 
The nature of my desk is such that I work globally so most of my clients aren’t in London. Intensively developing your candidate network pays huge dividends and since joining Hydrogen I’ve placed professionals in many different countries, including the UK, USA, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, India and Australia.

Flexible friend
It took me a bit of time getting used to this new way of working. You don’t have many internal meetings so you can just concentrate on what you need to do – that’s a big positive. Yet to make flexible working work, you need to be very organised and self-motivated.

‘Down’ side
I do miss the banter and camaraderie of the office. Our job can be tough so it’s good to let off some steam with your team and it’s easier when you’re sat next to them. If you’re less experienced, then having a ‘physical’ manager is important as it facilitates the learning and feedback process.

Managing relationships
This is key. If your manager doesn’t believe in flexible working, it won’t work. Steph (my manager) and I speak at least a couple of times a week, as and when required really. We have a great understanding which is based on mutual trust.

Sharing culture 
We work together as a team and we want each other to succeed. That means sharing (clients and candidates) and collaborating. You’re encouraged to help and be helped. Hydrogen encourages ideas and no one will block you. 

Market knowledge
The automatic exposure you get to so many companies is incredible but to reap the full benefits of that you must take the time to learn the candidate market in your sector as much as possible.  Armed with that knowledge, there’s nothing stopping you!

As someone with a young family myself, I'm an advocate of flexible working. It's created a level of trust and accountability beyond our expectations and something we should rightly be proud of as a company. We wanted to support Tim with his move and he has continued to perform outstandingly well. And as a mentor to other members of the team, he visits the UK regularly, which is a great way for him to remain connected. 

Stephanie Murtagh, Director of Life Sciences