Spotless Women's Voices: Navigating Work-Life Balance, Career Growth & Visions for Tomorrow

7 min read
Evelina Molis
Marketing Manager
Inside Spotless

This International Women's Day, we've had insightful conversations with inspiring women at Spotless, unveiling their unique career journeys, empowerment moments, and valuable tips.

What inspired you to pursue your career?

“I didn’t know what service design was when I was studying, but I had an interest in both business and people through my business and psychology studies. I gradually narrowed down my focus to consulting, combining my fascination with people and my interest in design. I followed the aspects of the work I really enjoyed and decided to pursue what brings me joy. I always advise to choose what inspires and interests you, even if it’s just an element of a job. Things will unfold, guiding you on your path.” (Emily, Lead Service Designer)

“I, on the other hand, have had various jobs, from working in a muffin factory and teaching yoga to dancing in theatre and more. When I moved to London my English skills were not even that good! Years later, during some birthday BBQ, I had a conversation with someone who works in HR that truly inspired me. The next day, I signed up to pursue my CIPD, and the rest is history. Never did I think I could achieve what I have today!” (Izabella, People Manager)

What achievements have made you the most proud so far?

“Being part of this industry since November 1998, I am very proud that I’ve never stopped learning. I find immense satisfaction in the never ending cycle of learning. Staying curious, meeting new people, and absorbing fresh knowledge daily keeps me engaged and proud.” (Anna, Head of Design Research)

“I’ve also undergone significant growth in my decade here! Starting with bookkeeping, my introduction to the operations side just two weeks into joining was a very busy yet exciting time. During my time at Spotless, I have been very proud to not only gain expertise in finance but also learning technical skills, such as managing our research labs. Working independently in my role and making important decision-making as a part of the Senior Management Team make me proud.” (Nour, Finance & Operations Manager)

“For me, it definitely has been taking the risk in switching roles. I transitioned from an administrative position to an agency in a different industry, and it has been very refreshing. I really love the culture we’ve got here!” (Rachel, Research Operations Manager)

Could you share a story of collaboration or mentorship that has positively impacted your career?

“Some of my former colleagues, including freelancers and clients, often approach me when transitioning to new organisations or roles, seeking guidance in establishing their own voice, and I love it! One memorable experience involved a mother returning to work after giving birth, struggling to find work-life balance. Empowering moments like these reinforce the possibility of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Also, our Head of Design Research Anna displayed immense patience when we first met, helping me overcome various obstacles at work. I always say ‘good mentors make good mentors’ - having someone who cares and guides demonstrates the positive influence people can have on others.” (Azia, Lead Design Researcher)

“In my previous roles, I used to mentor every newcomer through a mentorship program, it was a rewarding experience! Reflecting on my own mentorship journey, I greatly valued being mentored by one of the Design Leads in Lloyds Banking Group. Working with someone who focussed on Design Strategy, greatly helped my development, nestling well with my skills as a Design Researcher. I believe every organisation should actively foster mentorship programs.” (Anna, Head of Design Research)

“I am truly grateful for everyone I met at my first job at Unilever, a choice I made for my apprenticeship over university. Strong female figures during that time influenced my path towards consumer insights, shaping where I am today.” (Maddie, Traffic Manager)

“In my career, I met many strong female advocates. It’s important to recognise the impact of both genders as great mentors and leaders. Their influence is equally important, and I’ve been very fortunate to meet such people in my journey.” (Emily, Lead Service Designer)

Can you share a memorable moment where you felt empowered in your professional journey?

“One of the most empowering moments in my professional journey is when clients truly grasp and appreciate the impact of the work firsthand. Specifically, when I contribute to healthcare research pieces that serve the greater good - it gives me a profound sense of empowerment!” (Azia, Lead Design Researcher)

How do you balance work and personal life to maintain overall well-being and what advice do you have?

“Planning ahead is something I always do. I make lists and consider not only work projects but also family and personal life. Flexibility is key, and I advise others to look for and be open to it, acknowledging that unexpected things happen! That’s why I really appreciate Spotless’ unique flexibility. As a mother and woman, having the choice to work flexible hours or different work week patterns is significant. Climbing the career ladder while being a mother is often challenging, but here it feels like a very supportive environment, especially being a smaller organisation.” (Azia, Lead Design Researcher)

“It can often be tricky, especially in the current hybrid work environment. And in my case, I am also juggling between two locations! Flexibility is very vital in this case, and Spotless fosters a culture that values separation, offering duvet days, generous holidays and flexible working patterns. It’s very important to remember that we don’t always have to be on and available. Your personal life and mental health matter, so confidently switch off when needed.” (Anna, Head of Design Research)

“Working from home, I’ve now incorporated fitness classes at lunchtime, connecting with women from different backgrounds. It’s so reassuring to see everyone prioritising personal wellbeing during the workday!” (Rachel, Research Operations Manager)

“Definitely agree with that! I also start my days with exercise in the morning to set a positive tone. I also regularly check in with my friends and family, try to give myself a treat every now and then to help maintain balance.” (Maddie, Traffic Manager)

“All this flexibility and company policies allowed me to pursue my passion for baking, take a career break, and return. The ability to work from abroad enhances my life and helps me balance it with work, and I value the company’s support.” (Nour, Finance & Operations Manager)

How do you think workplaces can better support and uplift women in their careers?

“There are several ways to improve the workplace for women, for example, by improving and communicating maternity leave better. I recall a colleague who, due to a lack of awareness, believed having a baby would jeopardise her job. It’s essential to ensure that available resources on maternity leave protection reach everyone. A small effort in education can lead to significant positive changes, as seen in the case of my colleague who is now a happy mother!” (Izabella, People Manager)

“Many companies also acknowledge International Women’s day through posts, but true support goes beyond mere social media gestures. To uplift women in their careers, companies need to go beyond surface-level engagement and actively involve their team members throughout the year. It’s about implementing meaningful changes that create a supportive environment, fostering real progress for women in the workplace.” (Rachel, Research Operations Manager)

“I would also add that some workplace improvement approaches are not only being poorly communicated, but they are simply not addressed at all at some companies, particularly towards experiences like PMS and menopause. Every company should cover these in order to create a more inclusive and supportive environment.” (Nour, Finance & Operations Manager)

What advice would you give to young women starting their careers?

“My advice is to be deeply passionate about your chosen field. Take the time to explore and confirm that it’s genuinely your passion before diving in. If you’re fortunate to have flexible working options, balancing work and personal pursuits is very achievable as well.” (Nour, Finance & Operations Manager)

“For those who are just embarking on their careers, my suggestion is to fully immerse yourself in your chosen path, but also not be afraid to make a mistake! Seek out mentors with more experience who can guide you through the journey. Don’t hesitate to experiment and explore various aspects of your role.” (Maddie, Traffic Manager)

“Don’t set the expectation to excel in everything. Understand your strengths, make them known, and play to those strengths.” (Anna, Head of Design Research)

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