Work-Life Integration at IBM – Enjoying the Best of Both Worlds

Susan Wedge, Vice President & Partner for IBM Global Business Services (GBS), shares insights into how she manages work/life integration while working with IBM for the past 14 years.

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My work life

I have what I describe as ‘the best job within the GBS US Public Sector’ — leading a team of 1,000 consultants focused on driving digital transformations for Public Sector clients. In this role, I’m responsible for leading the delivery and growth of consulting services across multiple clients, developing employee skills and capabilities, and building core solutions and offerings. The Digital capabilities are targeted growth areas for the business, so this puts a lot of demands on our team. I travel as needed to meet with clients outside of the Washington DC metropolitan area, which averages to about four trips every six months.

My home life

My husband Eric and I have been married for 13 years. We live outside Washington, DC, in Ashburn, Virginia, with our nearly 3-year old twins Ryan and Sophie. Eric works full-time as the Vice President of Service Operations for a media corporation which is headquartered in New York.  He works out of our home office and travels periodically. Ryan and Sophie attend a day-care center about two miles from our home.  We’re lucky in that my parents and my sister and her family live about 45 minutes away from us and visit often. While my husband’s family doesn’t live locally, they can’t resist frequent visits to see our twins as well.

Making IBM’s Work-life Programs Work

IBM offers amazing resources to support all employees. The challenge is usually in finding out about all the benefits available to you. One such program that I took advantage of was a seminar on parenting twins, which provided all sorts of useful information to a new parent.

As a working mom of twins for the last 3 years, I’ve realized the importance of having a position that allows you schedule flexibility (within the constraints of the clients’ needs and requirements, of course). This type of flexibility has enabled me to work when and where I’m most productive.

Tips for making work-life integration work

It’s no small feat to get two three year olds out the door in the morning!

  1. Blocking off time. In an attempt to ease the morning stress, I typically block my calendar until 9:00am each day. This allows me to drop the twins at day-care and come back home to shower and have a few minutes to myself before I start my work day. While I certainly take meetings earlier than 9:00am (that’s simply the nature of the consulting business!), I try hard to protect this time at least three days per week. I take a similar approach in the evenings and I’m very selective about what meetings I take between 6:00pm – 7:30pm when my husband and I are in the midst of the end-of-day routine.
  2. Integrating your work and personal schedule. I’ve learned that it helps to fully integrate my work and personal schedules so that I have one view of each day.
  3. Prioritizing what needs to be done first. Since returning from maternity leave, I’ve realized that I don’t have to do it all — at home or at work. I try hard to prioritize what needs to be done each day and to carve out time to do those things that are most important to me.
  4. Teaming with your partner. Lastly, my husband and I “tag team” everything, which helps us both strike a better work-life balance on any given day.

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