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Working life!

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work we go

‘Heigh-Ho’ was a phrase coined in the mid 1500s and is defined as an expression of ‘yawning, sighing, languor, weariness, disappointment.’ It’s sung by Walt Disney’s seven dwarfs as they work tirelessly, day in and day out mining diamonds and rubies.

But since the days of Walt Disney, people in the UK are working much less than they used to, with the average UK worker spending 37 hours a week working, compared with 48 hours in 1952. Nevertheless, the average Monday to Friday, 9-5 job can seem long and stressful, especially at 9.15 on a Monday.

So that’s why we do things differently.

I spoke with the Capability Lead, Barry Mulcahy about how to make most of your working life.

Working nine ‘til five, what a way to make a living

‘Flexible working is a big thing for me. I’m working from home today, and we kind of take that for granted.’

Barry began by telling me about his innovative work-life balance.

‘It means that you’re able to live your life more easily, you can decide what time in the morning you arrive at the office, or if it’s easier to work from home that day. I know in other organisations, it’s not the done thing.’

For many roles here, it’s possible to have flexibility in your working hours, which is great for parents needing to take their kids to school, commuters who want to avoid the packed trains, and me, who doesn’t like to get up before dawn…

‘It’s so useful to have that freedom and it’s something you might take for granted, but if you left the bank and went to work somewhere that doesn’t offer it, you’d quickly notice!’

When I’m home everything seems to be right

Aside from the flexibility, what else is attracting people to come and work for us?

‘For me, it was the graduate programme. It’s brilliant, because you can do different rotations and build a really varied skillset in an 18 month or two year period.’

Since we spend so much of our lives working, it’s a big and daunting decision for post graduates to decide what sort of organisation they want to be a part of, and in what capacity. We offer a varied graduate programme structure, so people can find their feet, and find out how they work best.

‘In my final year of university, a lot of my classmates were going into accounting, and I knew I didn’t really want that. So I joined the Ulster Bank graduate programme, and I was amazed how varied it was, doing different rotations and building skills in a structured way.’

Holiday, celebrate

In the beginning of 2018, Barry’s husband was changing jobs, leaving a highly intense and stressful one behind. He decided he’d like some time off before starting a new role.

‘He asked me whether I could take some time off as well. So initially I was looking for a few weeks annual leave, but then I came across the career break scheme.’

For our seasoned employees it’s possible to apply for a career break.

‘I applied for a short term break of four months, and I was really lucky to be supported by my line manager and the head of HR at the time.’

Barry and his husband took some time off to stay in an apartment in the South of Cadiz and enjoyed a slower paced, more relaxing lifestyle.

‘It was a really great experience and a really good opportunity to spend some quality time together as a couple, which sounds a bit cringe!

‘We have a view that life is really short, and this allows people to go and take some time out, refresh and unwind. So that’s great for the individual, but good for the bank as well.’

You won’t be eligible for a career break after your first day on the job, so what else is attracting people?

True colours are beautiful like a rainbow

‘It’s so important to make sure the work environment is inclusive to all people from all walks of life, and there’s so many people here working to implement that.’

We have numerous inclusion networks designed to stamp out stigmas and negative stereotypes, and celebrate the diversity that makes us all unique.

‘I sit on the committee of the Rainbow Network. We’re working to bring in guest speakers, and put on social events, while raising some really important issues.’

The Rainbow Network is our LGBTQ+ inclusion network. Its purpose is to spread awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and news, to put on events and to ensure Ulster Bank is operating as an LGBTQ+ inclusive bank.

‘I was openly gay at college and to all of my friends and family, but when I entered the workplace, I went back into the closet. But when I found out about the Rainbow Network, and I realised that the company promotes and supports LGBTQ+ people, that was really powerful and it meant I could be my true self at work.’

So if you’re looking for an organisation that’s worth your time, in an inclusive, friendly and varied environment, then apply now for one of our fantastic roles!

Want to work for a organisation who can provide you this and more? See what opportunities we have available today.