17 Oct 2022
For six weeks RPS Executive Strategy Manager Ben Rayward took remote work to another level. With laptop in hand, Ben temporarily reduced his workload to part time and travelled overseas to support his eldest daughter – 16-year-old Jasmine as she represented Australia in her sporting endeavours.
From late September through to mid-October, Ben juggled his parenting/chief cheer squad duties with work, where his Australian clients and colleagues were mostly eight hours behind.
But he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The flexibility allowed Ben to watch his daughter compete at world championships for Australian youth teams in sprint kayaking in Hungary, open water swimming in Seychelles, surf lifesaving in Italy and ocean ski paddling in Portugal.
“When we found out that Jasmine had been selected in four Australian youth teams and would be completing at four back-to-back world championships over eight-and-a-half weeks, my wife and I had to do a lot of planning to prepare for this as well as juggling our three other children and work commitments.
I raised this with the Executive Director of the PM Division, Michael Owens, and he was open to me working remotely with flexibility around how I managed my working time and leave.”
“It is a unique experience to be able to travel with my daughter and support her at these events. Most of the time Jasmine was in training camps or with the team, which provided me flexibility to be able to continue working a reasonable proportion of the time. I would generally get up early and do a few hours of work while it was afternoon in Australia. We were also able to manage my wife travelling with us for a few weeks as well.”
“Covid changed the working landscape, accelerating the technology and importantly the workplace cultures to support more flexible working arrangements. I feel RPS has been forward leaning in this space, with robust technology platforms, laptop and mobile devices and flexible working policies. While RPS’ approach assisted me in supporting my daughter for this unique opportunity, importantly it also assists our employees in their day-to-day working arrangements at home.”
“There is an immense amount of training and effort that goes into achieving national selection, so it was definitely a highlight just being present to see Jasmine represent her country. Between the sprint kayaking world championships in Hungary and the open water swimming in the Seychelles we had a couple of days in Istanbul, Turkey where Jasmine celebrated her 16th birthday. It was amazing to be in such a culturally diverse location in the world at such a young age. She did miss her Mum though.”
“Jasmine performed quite well. She was the youngest member of all four teams – she’s in Year 10 where most of her teammates are in Year 12 or finished high school. The level of international competition was a real eye opener with some of the sports having a large step up from winning Australian Nationals to competing on the world stage. She did end up with three gold medals and one silver as part of team events at Surf Life Saving World Championships in Italy as well as a bronze medal at ocean ski world championships in Portugal, which involved a 20-kilometre paddle in the open ocean. She is eligible for the junior teams for another two years so it will be interesting to see if she improves.
As for the Olympics, she enjoys training and competing. If she can continue with this enjoyment, travel and meet people from across the world - anything else is a bonus.”
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