Flexibility at Novartis: Deepti Mitta

Originally Published by Novartis.

The “Flexibility at Novartis” series spotlights associates who have one thing in common: They work flexibly. As a result, they are able to manage the demands of their work and private lives. Flexible working can boost employee engagement while increasing efficiency and productivity. This series provides a glimpse into flexible working at Novartis.

Deepti Mittal serves as a Senior Finance Manager within Novartis Business Services in Hyderabad, India. She shares her story below.

Owning the way I work

For me, my job is not just a 9-to-5 job it is more than that. And the flexibility I have at Novartis gives me an even stronger sense of ownership for my work.

That sense extends to my family. They know that I want and I need to deliver in my job. So, they understand when, for example, I need to work in the evening.

Being there for my family is very important for me as well. In 2012, my daughter who lives with her grandparents in Delhi was diagnosed with a medical condition with unclear line of treatment. My whole world was shaken up.

Back then, in Hyderabad, Novartis had a much smaller organization with no formal flexible work policies yet. As part of a lean team, I had people really counting on me. I told my boss I might have to stop working because I wanted to be there for my daughter, and he said, “Wait.” He and the team agreed to a temporary flexible work arrangement. For the next few months, I was able to work from home whenever my presence at the office wasn’t needed and spent part of the time in another city.

Even before formal flexible work policies were in place, I received the accommodation and emotional support at work that I needed during a difficult time. I’m happy to say my daughter, 11, is doing well now.

Today associates in India generally understand what flexible working means. But our perceptions and culture need to fully catch up. Some people still seem more confident I’ll deliver if they can see me at my desk.

I value flexibility not only because I have benefited from it personally but also because it allows me to hire and keep the best people, regardless of their personal situation. Most importantly, it allows people to own the way they work.

What does flexibility at work mean to you

For me, flexibility means that associates can work when it’s most convenient for them as well as for the business.