TRULY FLEXIBLE WORKING – PART 1: 13 GUIDEPOSTS

by Paula on May 13, 2014

As clients and regular readers of my blog will know, I am a big fan of working opportunities that allow for a more flexible, people-friendly way of working, while still achieving results.

I have spoken before about my belief that there should be more consideration of part-time as an option, and a need to look beyond the 9-5 to a way of working that suits the people we are and the lives we lead.

Via a Twitter conversation, sparked by a question on attitude to mothers in the workplace, I became aware of a company in Bristol that operates what seemed to be a very forward-thinking flexible working policy and I was really keen to find out more.

I was put in touch with the Head of Talent at the organisation in question who forwarded to me her Employee/Business Guideposts, which I share below. These are heavily influenced by the strategies of ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) co-created by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson and I’m sure you will agree are pretty exciting and a huge step from what even some of the companies who pride themselves on flexible working, can offer.

Due to the huge amount of interest I had in this way of working, my desire to learn more for myself and my clients and the enthusiasm to share what I found with you, this blog forms 3 parts.

Today I want to leave you with these 13 Guideposts. What do you think? What would you ask? How would you feel if they were your company’s guidelines and do you think it can work?

  1. People at all levels stop doing any activity that is a waste of their time, the customer’s time, or the company’s money.

  2. Employees have the freedom to work any way they want.

  3. Every day feels like Saturday.

  4. People have an unlimited amount of paid time off as long as the work gets done.

  5. Work isn’t a place you go; it’s something you do.

  6. Arriving at the workplace at 2.00pm is not considered coming in late. Leaving the workplace at 2.00pm is not considered leaving early.

  7. Nobody talks about how many hours they work.

  8. Every meeting is optional.

  9. It’s OK to grocery shop on a Wednesday morning, catch a film on a Tuesday afternoon, or take a nap on a Thursday afternoon.

  10. There are no work schedules, no set hours of work, no hours per week you’re expected to do.

  11. Nobody feels guilty, overworked, or stressed out.

  12. There is no last minute fire-fighting.

  13. There is no judgement about how you spend your time.

I was delighted to be offered opportunity last week to interview the lady who implemented this way of working and was full of questions!

In Part 2 of this blog, to be published later this week, I will tell you more about the company and the results of this interview. Then in Part 3, I will share my views on this as an option for you.

{ 5 comments }

Richard BIshop May 14, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I have not looked, honest.

Is Jake a: builder, carpenter, taxi driver, plumber, Dr, financial adviser, administrator, teacher or solicitor?

I’d guess Jake works in – IT, marketing or software development?

Am I close?

Paula May 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Hi Richard – very close. Part 2 (the interview) will be up tomorrow so you can find out more) Thanks for reading.

Richard Bishop May 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Hi,

I’ll look forward to that.

My view is flexi working is great, may only work in certain industries.

My view us open to be changed. I shall read part 2.

Richard

PhilCollard May 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm

An interesting read, Paula.. as always.

I notice your use of the words “forward thinking” and I do agree but wonder if that might be confused with the notion that, in someway, this method is “the future” – i.e what we can expect to happen as we “progress”.

I’m not sure it can be classed as the future… but I’ve little doubt that it is “part of” the future.

Clearly, a few of the bullet points are designed to ensure that the work does, actually, get done and that is crucial, of course… but I wonder how difficult it is at recruitment stage to ensure that the person you’re about to offer a job to will be suited to that method.

Some people, by nature, need more structure and simply wouldn’t be productive within those guidelines – others, who are perhaps more self motivated, would get on well with it, no doubt.

AND – a thought that has just struck me (as I type!!) – I wonder how many people who are well suited to this working method would be seeking “employment” in the first place. In reality, this working model would tend to attract someone who would, today, be tempted into self-employment / some kind of entrepreneurial endeavour so may not be looking for a job.

Looking forward to reading parts 2 and 3 :-)

Phil

Paula May 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Hi Phil. Interesting point, Yes the words “forward-thinking” naturally came from me when talking about this subject. I think that comes from seeing the digital age offering so much more flexibility plus people being more demanding about the way their life is organised. I feel that the 9-5.30 which came from a time of all being present when machinery was on, has really had its time and companies need to start thinking of other ways to make things work.

I definitely agree with your point regarding some people needing more structure and that’s one of the things I addressed in the interview. I did find though that structure was not ruled out, but individuals were free to choose how much input they required. Someone sat at their desk 9-5.30 with a clear plan was still allowed!

And as someone who sought this way of working and chose to be self-employed because of it, I find it encouraging that there may be employers who are looking to incorporate this. I, as many others, are self-employed purely for the flexibility rather than out of any burning desire to be a business owner and I think a lot less people would “opt out” of employment were the options to be employed more attractive.

Thanks for reading and look forward to hearing what you make of the next blog :-)

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