We Are Allies

Case Studies

Case Study: Role Models and Supporters

Helen Messer

Commercial Director

Hello. I’m Helen and I’ve worked full time for Atos for twelve years. I joined Atos aged 31 after a period in my life where I’d voluntarily taken a 3 month career break after suffering with mental health issues. I took three months off work and after receiving several job offers chose to work for Atos because I’d heard (through someone I knew who worked for Atos at the time) that it was a great company to work for.

My first day at Atos I’ll never forget. My confidence was still shaky, and I was still in recovery mode so far as my mental health was concerned. As I stepped into the office, I was warmly welcomed by everyone that worked there. Everyone was friendly. Everyone was welcoming and everyone was cheerful. It was the best first day ever and it didn’t take me long to realise that the reason people were so warm and welcoming was because they enjoyed coming in to work, they enjoyed working for Atos and they felt a sense of purpose and comradery.

Twelve years on and Atos have been with me through all my life changing events. When I joined Atos I was single, unmarried and did not have children.

“Never have I had to justify the importance of wanting to spend time with my family and enjoy a good work life balance. Never have I had to sacrifice my career and its progress because I chose to have a family either.”

I met my husband shortly after joining the company and ten years ago we welcomed our first child. I’d never considered “maternity leave” before, never had to ask myself what that would mean for me both emotionally or financially so I was reassured when I realised that Atos provides competitive maternity pay for its employees and has a flexible and compassionate return to work policy fully recognising the emotional torment that many mums feel when their maternity leave is over and it’s time to come back to work again. When I had my second child three years ago I was reminded of the maternity support Atos provides to its staff and even further delighted to see that support network had improved even further since my first child was born demonstrating Atos willingness to continually reflect and improve on its policies.

Never have I had to justify the importance of wanting to spend time with my family and enjoy a good work life balance. Never have I had to sacrifice my career and its progress because I chose to have a family either. Atos encourages a good work life balance and treats everyone who works for them as mature and thinking adults. Provided I get the job done, it doesn’t matter if I have to take my daughter to the dentist, watch the school play, go to sports day, leave early to look after my family. How I manage my life and my workload is trusted to me and that trust and support in knowing I’ll get the job done is so powerful and one of the many reasons why I love working for this company.

Two years ago, owing to health issues I had to have a hysterectomy and was pushed therefore into rapid menopause. Atos were, as you’d expect, extremely supportive of me taking the time off I needed to recover. What delighted and surprised me most however was Atos’ approach to supporting me when I returned to work. One in four women who work for Atos in the UK are at typical menopausal age. Atos provides a wealth of support to its staff who are experiencing disruptive menopause symptoms and does not treat the Menopause as a taboo subject. Atos is pioneering the right behaviours in how companies should be supporting staff going through the Menopause and I’m proud that as part of this, I’m an Atos Menopause Ambassador taking time out of my normal day to day to offer help to Atos colleagues who need reasonable support in the workplace owing to menopause symptoms.

I joined Atos as a buyer and have progressed my career considerably here since then. Unlike many of my colleagues I don’t have a University Degree (just the university of life) so I have embraced and taken full advantage of the career training Atos provides through professional certifications to the plethora of online learning available. Atos gently encourages its people to grow their skills and puts all reasonable mechanisms in place to help them do that safeguarding jobs against future evolving skills that will be required, doing everything possible to keep people and their respective skills “future fit” so they can enjoy a long and varied career at the company.

In my twelve years here I’ve enjoyed a variety of roles learning amazing new skills as I go. I’ve been offered opportunities not based on what I’ve done before but what my employer believes I’m capable of and that is so encouraging when you consider the wealth of public studies that prove women will only apply for a job if they believe they can do 100% of what is listed on the job description. Atos recognises this and actively focuses therefore on a person’s capability as a cornerstone for their career growth, not whether their experience ticks a list of tasks in a job description. Simply put, I love working here and the people and energy in the company today remains just as warm and welcoming as it was on my first day. Atos is an employer who encourages a good work life balance and one that cares about its people.

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