Sixteen years ago, I opted to send my first-born to a nursery close to the office for convenience. I would sometimes collect her and then return to the office with the baby in the pram, in order to finish off some drafting or take a conference call. That 'flexible working' arrangement continued for years, and my daughter, who is now a teenager, still has fond memories of 'mummy's office' (much to my relief!) where she would get hot chocolate from the vending machine while drawing or - later on when at school - do her homework.
I remember bah-humbug grumbles from my then boss when I asked to escape the office for an hour or two to attend a nativity play or sports day - even though I would routinely put my children to bed in the evening, say goodbye to my long-suffering husband, and drive back to the office to put in a twilight shift.
These days, when I don my trainers at the office and head off mid-afternoon, I know that I'll be on time at the school gates for my youngest child - and that I'll also get that urgent email off to my client. Within a few minutes of arriving home, I log on to my desktop and 'do my homework' along with my kids.
I can attend class shows at school, and I can take my elderly parents to hospital appointments - while still fulfilling work obligations. While my children are attending evening sports practice, I can log on and keep on top of my inbox.
The infrastructure helps, of course - the technology means that within seconds, I have access to my office desktop while sitting at home. But just as important - if not more so - is what I'd call the 'emotional infrastructure'. Agile working is not merely permitted here - it is embraced. It is championed by our Chairman. And that support makes all the difference.
My children used to think that the expression 'running late' referred to situations involving actual running because you were late. How did they get that idea, I wonder? But they're in no doubt as to the meaning of agile. And talking of my three most demanding clients (aged 16, 14 and 12), tranquillity is still a word that’s far, far away on the horizon of my vocabulary.