Flexible vs Brittle working
Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen what a difference flexible working at MoneySavingExpert.com makes to the lives of those of us who work here.
My wife is currently pregnant with child number 3, but each time she gets pregnant she suffers from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. For the uninitiated, this means she has extreme morning sickness, meaning that she has to rest most of the day, and is lucky to get a bit of juice down each day.
This has meant I have had to balance looking after her, looking after our 2 wonderful boys aged 2 and 5, sorting everything at home for 4 people, trying out lots of different foods / drinks to try to find something that my wife can keep down, all while holding down a full time job at one of the biggest consumer websites in the UK.
If MoneySE didn’t offer flexible working, then I don’t know how I would have coped.
How to be flexible rather than brittle?
1. Great ways to communicate
Our communication methods of choice at MoneySavingExpert are Slack, Skype for business, and email. We use slack most of all as a team. It allows you to communicate quickly and simply and chooses quickly and simply between communicating with a group and then with an individual. We use skype for business for it’s teleconferencing abilities, and because it gives us a directory for everyone in the entire organisation.
2. Objective based work
Work here is very much based on objectives, we aim to achieve something, rather than just being busy. Without objectives, it could be very simple to just coast when working flexibly. But with real objectives that I need to achieve by the end of the week, it doesn’t matter so much where or when I work (and that could be 10pm on my sofa at home) so long as I achieve what we have agreed to do.
3. Trust within the team
Trust requires management who understand the benefits of flexible working. Historically companies haven’t been able to be flexible, you go back to the days of working in a factory or working on a farm at harvest. There is a set time and place that you have to do that work.
But nowadays you have whole companies such as Gitlab which are based on complete flexibility around working location.
At MoneySavingExpert we have that management, and I personally have a manager who has experience of working at companies that enforced a couple of days a week working from home. His experience when this happened was to see productivity increase rather than decrease, and so his trust of flexible working went up.
What are the benefits of being a flexible organisation?
1. Improved productivity
When people are able to work flexibly, their productivity increases. No longer is an hour and a half of their day taken up with travelling, so they feel fresher and are often able to give more time to work, but still be home with their family for dinner.
2. Improved employee health
When companies are flexible with working hours, it will improve your employees health, reducing the need to take time off sick. This maybe physical health as employees are able to spend time exercising during an extended lunch, and then carry on working later in the evening. It maybe mental, when dealing with stresses of having to manage family illnesses or other events, and being able to flexibly work their hours around them. It may even be the improvement to their well being of being able to spend time with their loved ones while working at strange times to be able to do that.
3. Improved employee skills
If an employee is able to work more flexibly, they can work study around the times they have to work, and often they can fit training into work. The fact that work is based on objectives, means that if spending an hour that week will help them achieve the objective, then they can do that. They can also study at times when they feel more able to study, and carry out work that needs a lot less thought (clearing out emails) as times when their brain is less engaged.
4. Improved workplace diversity
Some groups have a much larger need for flexible working than others. It maybe those who are single parents, or just those who are parents full stop. It maybe those who have family members that they need to care for. It maybe those who are less affluent, and have to live a lot further from your office location than those who are more affluent. A more diverse workplace means that you are going to have far more views and ideas to take your business forward, than just having a bunch of people that all think in exactly the same way.
Are you working flexibly?
Are you a leader in an organisation that could benefit from flexible working?
Do you want to attract people to your organisation that really need to be able to work flexibly?
Do you want to work for an organisation that is flexible with how employees work?
The benefits are great, for little to no cost, and remember, you never know when like me it may make a massive difference to you.
Before you go…
If you are interested in joining an organisation that allows you to work felxibly, while giving you a chance to really achieve, then we are hiring at MoneySavingExpert.com, which is part of Moneysupermarket Group.