This is the first instalment of our blog series “Life As A New Management Consultant”, where new analysts at Curamando discuss different topics related to their jobs in Business Consulting. In this post, our analyst Lisa Forssberg writes about work-life balance.
When I was a first-year student at Luleå University, I remember going to a lecture held by an alumnus. The alumnus worked as a management consultant and was there to inspire us to follow in his career steps. I remember him talking about long work hours, fully booked schedules and travelling a minimum of four days per week. When I walked out of that lecture I was the opposite of inspired. What had affected me during that lecture, was the anguishing thought of being expected to work all the time and not have time for family or friends.
However, I couldn’t base my entire opinion of management consulting on one person, so I went out on Google and started to research. When you search for the words “consulting” and “work-life balance”, the results are not very positive. As a matter of fact, work-life balance was listed as the major disadvantage of working as a consultant. Generally, people wrote that the career was very exciting, but that they couldn’t work as consultants for a very long time due to the workload.
Many people also wrote that they had burned out. It seemed to me that consulting firms whose only resources are their consultants should care more about their resources’ overall health and well-being.
Looking more deeply into the concept of work-life balance, it occurred to me that it involves a lot more than just work hours. Flexibility, comfortable office conditions, professional growth and social connections are equally, if not more, important when it comes to a healthy work lifestyle. I was wondering if this could really be that difficult to implement at a consulting firm, and the answer is no. It is both possible and realized.
The reason why I know this now is because I have been fortunate enough to find a consultancy firm which has taken all these work-life balance factors into consideration. My company is called Curamando, and it has proven to me that not only do consultancy firms that have work-life balance exist, but also that this is something that drives their growth.
Don’t get me wrong – this is not a sleepy company where people are inefficient and unproductive. It’s quite the opposite. The people here are very ambitious and results-driven. This means that the company has no need to govern every employee’s work by the minute, but instead, there is a culture of trust and empowerment. All my colleagues are extremely customer focused, always making sure that they deliver maximum value. Of course, working on a project basis inevitably implies that you’ll have fluctuating work hours. This means that sometimes you’ll have more to do but also that sometimes you’ll have less – just like in any other project basically. However, with regards to work-life balance I can say the following with certainty:
Curamando has devoted a lot of attention to making sure that their employees are developing professionally, by constantly updating performance plans, distributing coaches to everyone and holding knowledge exchange seminars. They are investing a lot in the social part as well, both through conference trips and team-building sessions. Flexibility is a given factor here (much appreciated by the many parents with young children) as well as the office climate (the coffee – also called PowerPoint juice – is actually good). Furthermore, with regards to the workload, a lot of responsibility is placed on the individual. If you feel that you have too much on your plate, it is encouraged that you speak to a colleague or your project manager. We’re also encouraged by managers to alert them if you suspect that a colleague is working too much. Curamando knows that their most important assets are their employees, which is why they want to make sure we are all working in a healthy and productive way.
To sum up, I am glad I did not conclude my view on management consulting based on the alumnus I met five years ago. At the moment, I am planning to travel back to my university to hold an alumnus lecture myself, where I will be happy to share my insights on the co-existing worlds of management consulting and work-life balance.
Lisa Forssberg, Analyst