Graham White, head of HR and organisational development at Surrey County Council, can work from home. He has the latest technology and can access his work files from his domestic computer. Nothing unusual in that - except that his home is in Ireland.
"I fly into Gatwick on Mondays and return home on Thursday or Friday," he says. "And my employers are fully supportive. They know that I am the secondary carer at home."
White is the embodiment of an approach to flexible working that has taken three years to put in place at the council.
"For us, flexible working is an umbrella statement," he says. "We have recognised that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and so we offer arrangements such as personalised hours and annualised hours."
He says this approach is already paying dividends in terms of retaining knowledge and attracting recruits.
"We've fought very hard to make sure that employees with family or caring responsibilities don't have to take lesser jobs," he says.
Sadly, White's approach is not typical across the HR profession. Despite being the key architects of flexible work policies and family-friendly working, HR professionals are often the last to take them up, according to Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Business School.
"My view is that HR directors are probably not practising what they preach," he says. "My gut reaction is that, given the demands on HR directors and their need to stay close to the board, a lot of them feel they have to be around."
Cooper is not alone in suspecting that a long-hours culture is still prevalent in HR.
Around one in five HR managers works 14 hours or more above their contract every week, according to a survey by the Chartered Management Institute. And readers of PersonnelToday.com's Just the Job e-mail bulletin continue to bemoan the lack of part-time and flexible opportunities for HR professionals.
Cooper is not surprised by this, as he has encountered a mixed take-up of flexible working among HR directors. "That's not good enough," he says. "A culture of f