Does being freelance affect your family?

Mark PA

Mark is a Senior Managing Architect within our Solutions Architecture management team. Day to day he manages a number of our key architectural portfolios across Digital, Distribution, Digital Operations and Customer. 

I joined Nationwide last year, having spent the previous 8 years working as a freelance contractor. During that time I found most of my working week was spent away from home - living in hotels Monday to Friday, and travelling to different parts of Europe to work.

Having a young family, I found spending time apart from them difficult and I missed having my evenings with them.

Since accepting an offer from Nationwide, my journey into work has changed considerably; I now have a drive that takes about 50 minutes to the office across the Wiltshire countryside (which in nice weather takes me past the lovely standing stones at Avebury, and some of the prettiest parts of the surrounding Wiltshire area). As it’s a short drive from my home I’m now able to spend much more time with my family, which has made a huge difference to  the relationship I have with my children. Now I'm home to help with homework, and I've even fulfilled the promise of getting a family dog! The focus on work / life balance has also meant I can be there for other school events that happen during the day.

I did have some concerns with the move from my previous roles in the Mobile phone sector, but when I met with the hiring manager they talked me through how Nationwide are investing £2.5 billion in making large scale changes towards making the lives of our customers easier.

The possibility of working on IT architectural solutions of this scale was definitely at the forefront of my mind when I took on the role.

A huge part of what I do now is centred on improving the way our customers can interact with us via our contact centres, whether by voice, email or chat. A key factor of this work is how we provide our customers with the best service possible and ensuring all their interactions are as smooth as possible. Our customers have many different needs when they contact us, and its important that we handle every call in the most professional way and ensure that the customers’ needs are fulfilled during that contact. We’ve already made a huge difference improving things for customers who are trying to contact us, which is a definite highlight of my first 6 months here.

As the world moves more and more into the digital age of smartphones, tablets, and apps, I’m excited to be part of the teams that are delivering some of the best digital capabilities within UK financial services. On a day to day basis I work with my team to ensure a number of projects and programmes are under control - delivering to deadlines, checking all of the issues and risks are being managed. My team are made up of 25 Architects who are specialists in designing solutions which will fulfill Nationwide’s strategy of becoming a Digital Society.

I also work with colleagues across the business to help define and shape our long term goals, and how we will deliver on our 2020 vision.

It’s great as it means there’s a lot of variety in the work I do on a daily and weekly basis 

- and there’s never a day without a new challenge. I work with many key Architecture teams including Strategy, Enterprise and the Business Architecture practices, as well as the wider business. Its crucial to keeping us aligned and delivering to the same goals. 

I can definitely see the vision Nationwide has to continue to lead the market with customer service, first grade IT solutions and an environment that enhances how we serve our members and the capabilities that we provide to our colleagues.

The culture here shows a real passion for working together, there’s a great amount of respect for each other as individuals. There’s a great camaraderie. As a Mutual organisation we recognise that we’re working to best serve the needs of our members and we’re not entirely at the behest of shareholders to make money for them - which is a huge change from my previous background. The other main change I feel is that as a UK organisation we’re not under external influence from a parent company to go against the best interests of our staff and members.

Our teams are always looking for people who want to make a difference, people who think about the future - specifically what and how a mutual organisation like Nationwide can support the financial needs of the UK. We’re looking for people with the drive and interest to provide the best solutions for our customers.

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Find out more on Solutions Architecture roles at Nationwide.