“Career and family can also be combined in a management position”

As a department head at Swiss Post, Annette Vogel is responsible for around 50 employees. She is also the mother of a two-year old child. In our interview, she explains how she balances the demands of having a career and a family.

Mirjam Liechti-Balmer
A portrait of Annette Vogel.

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Annette, how did you become a manager?

I have been working at Swiss Post for almost 19 years and have acquired a broad range of knowledge in various areas. I came to PostMail 11 years ago. Five years ago I took over as the head of a 12-strong team and at the beginning of 2019, my boss retired. I took this opportunity and decided to apply for the advertised position. My colleagues were very supportive and my manager placed a great deal of trust in me. I also received full support in my personal life, and still do, without which I would never have bold enough to take this step. Since I have a young daughter, I had to be able to continue working part-time.

How does your part-time work model look? 

I have Monday and Wednesday afternoons off. I spend these half-days with our daughter. When possible, I work from home on Fridays in Valais, where my parents also live. This is a good opportunity to finish off that week’s work and prepare for the next. My husband also works part-time and takes care of our daughter on his free days and does large share of the housework. We devote time to hobbies on Saturday and Sunday is family day. Of course we also spend the evenings as a family.

Annette Vogel is sitting on a swing with her daughter.

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What is working from home in Valais with your daughter like?

We usually travel to Valais on the Thursday evening. On Friday, I start work at 6 a.m. My daughter generally sleeps until around 8 a.m. when we enjoy breakfast together. My parents then take care of her – and prepare lunch – allowing me time to focus on work. It’s a two-storey house so I can fully devote myself to the work at hand. I finish for the day at 6 p.m.

How successful are you at keeping your professional and personal lives separate?

The two afternoons with my daughter are sacred. She has 100% of my attention. I put the mobile and laptop away so I can concentrate just on her. If I didn’t separate my affairs so strictly, it would be frustrating for all involved and I couldn’t satisfy anybody.

Do you have a secret formula for your family model? 

It’s simply a matter of being organized and on the same page as my husband. We each have our strengths and put these to good use every day. I also think it’s important that we both have a career.

Annette Vogel's husband playing with their daughter.

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What are the biggest challenges?

It’s not always easy keeping on top of everything and staying in control of my schedule. My husband and I have a joint calendar to make things clearer. If everything runs as usual, it’s not a problem. But if something unforeseen arises, you need flexibility, spontaneity and understanding. There are also some people in our family and circle of friends who are willing to look after our daughter at short notice. So there’s always a solution.

What are your hopes for the future when it comes to equal opportunities for men and women?

When I’m out on business, I’m often asked where my child is. My husband never has to answer such questions. I hope that the outdated concept of “the woman looks after kids and the man is the breadwinner” can now be consigned to history once and for all and that equality becomes a reality in all aspects of life.

Swiss Post creates an operating framework which empowers staff members to combine the different aspects of their lives. This includes the Work Smart initiative (a modern, flexible working model), financial support for external childcare and advice on caring for family members.

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written by

Mirjam Liechti-Balmer

HR Marketing