As anyone who knows Propellernet, or has read SUPERENGAGED knows, our aim is to be the best place to work in the world (we aim high!). So we are utterly delighted to have been selected as one of the UK’s top three Flexible Employers by flexibility specialists, Timewise, in recognition of the flexible work patterns and job design that we encourage and support within our culture.
Flexible work patterns
Over the last decade 45% of us at Propellernet have become parents (split evenly between men and women), and many of us prefer to work fewer hours than the standard week. So, since 2010 we have taken the time to find out what everyone in our team needs in terms of flexibility, and have worked together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
As a result, 40% of our team now work a mixture of part-time hours. The patterns include: three or four days a week; shorter working days over the full week; four longer days over a five-day week; variable mornings or afternoons at home, or a mixture of all of the above.
And, importantly, it’s not just a parent thing; this kind of flexibility is open to everyone – we have employees studying for their Masters and running successful start-ups outside of their ‘day jobs’. It’s up to all of us to make it work.
Flexible job design
We’re lucky enough to work in an environment that’s brilliant for collaboration and teamwork, for people to bounce off each other and connect face-to- face, for maintaining our culture and celebrating together.
But it can also make productive deep thinking and meaningful work challenging. It can become an interruption factory, fuelling our distraction addiction, getting in the way of getting work done.
Our employee engagement survey suggested everyone would be keen for more flexibility around when and where they worked to boost productivity.
So, in 2017, we put a 10-week trial in place to change our standard working hours of 9am to 5.30pm to new flexi-hours of 10am to 4pm as core work hours, leaving our people to decide for themselves when and where they spend the other two and a half.
At the end of the trial, people reported to be happier, less stressed, healthier and more engaged with both their homelife and work. The trial has become a permanent change and we’re all the better for it. 98% of our team say they would recommend working at Propellernet to others, up from 91% the year prior.
What we’ve learnt about making flexible working work.
While every business will have its own requirements and nuances around flexible working and job design, here are four key ingredients that have helped us succeed at Propellernet:
- The right tools: Remote work needs the right kit – laptops, mobiles, collaboration tools such as Slack.
- The right attitude: If working flexi-hours, or remotely, makes life better, we’re fully in support of it.
- Respect: Being able to switch off when the working day is done – and that switch-off being respected by the rest of the team – is critical.
- Trust: Trusting people to be grown-ups, to get on with their work and focusing on outputs rather than inputs, tends to bring out the best in them.
Choosing to create a flexible working culture has helped us to hang on to our talented team members, and to support them in managing their work-life balance.
Work in the UK is changing, and we’re proud to have been recognised by Timewise for embracing that change. Empowering our people to decide how, when and where they work has increased engagement, productivity and retention. It’s certainly been worth adapting, creating a multitude of business benefits and a happier team too.