By its very definition, workplace flexibility is just that—flexible. There is no one size fits all when it comes to flexible work. That very concept is explored in the second YouTube video (produced by Angel Productions, a company which creates videos about workplace equality and flexibility.) In the second installment—“Stop the Clock: Flexibility at Work, Part 2”— they take us through the experience of real people with work-life balance as a result of having flexible work options (to watch the complete video, please visit YouTube.)
Ruth Mason had an office job but needed to find a way to avoid traveling five days a week for work. She also wanted to reduce her working hours so she could have more time with her daughter. Her boss, Sarah Pickup, wondered if she could manage a team from home without working in the office five days a week. They agreed to a six-month trial to see how it would go. Because Ruth was able to meet her deadlines and always communicated with her boss, she decided that she didn’t need to have her come into the office. “I can see she is doing the work. I don’t need to see when,” Pickup said.
Ruth admits that had her boss not agreed to let her work-from-home, she would have given up work. “I really enjoy working in this way, and I think that both my daughter and I benefit from it,” Ruth said. Not only has she been able to continue her professional life, she has more time with her daughter. And her company benefits from not losing an experienced and committed member of the staff.
In fact, Ruth’s company is so pleased with her performance that they are actually encouraging more staffers to work from home. “I’m looking ahead to the future when the whole organization will benefit from this arrangement,” Pickup said. “They are likely to be more productive, less time in cars, and work when it suits them, when their brain is ready to work. You get the best out of people.”
Another type of work flexibility explored is job sharing. Georgie Webb, an Account Manager at Barclays Premier, relishes her job share. “I have extra time to read, and I’m not cramming everything into the weekend. I feel fresher and less stressed,” Georgie said. Georgie shares her job with Christine Dean, another Account Manager, who said: “Clients benefit because they have both of us. Our flexible arrangement works because it is relationship-driven.”
Christine admitted that if she didn’t have flex she would have gone back to work full-time—reluctantly. “I didn’t want to stay at home full-time so job sharing allows me to have a good job at work, and have time with child,” she said.
Some people might mistakenly think that job sharing can only happen with entry-level or mid-level positions. Peter Rankin and Sandra Meadows—who both hold senior level management positions—dispel that notion. The duo stress the immense need for crystal clear communication in order for their job share to work.
Melanie Lowndes, a lawyer, found herself frustrated with her position. She wanted to have more time off to simply enjoy life. So she began working a compressed workweek, working Monday through Thursday with Fridays off. She discovered that she worked “more energetically and intensely” during her workdays. And on Fridays, she would hit the hay—literally. Melanie, a horse lover, uses her free Fridays to ride and train to become a horse training instructor.
As the video demonstrates, not all jobs have to be a fixed job in a fixed place because that’s the way it’s always been done. The workplace of today has far more flexibility and freedom, with a happier, more productive workforce as a result.
photo credit: istockphoto.com