This article has been originally written by ITCE for Escreo’s Blog – Ideas for Creative Spaces and can be found here.
The new year is a good time to re-evaluate work and home practices and even better – to introduce some that enable us to optimize the work/life balance.
An increasing number of innovative companies around the world are introducing flexible work hours and that is why, we have decided to give you a sneak-peek into a Bulgarian company that has adopted the model. So that you can decide whether flexible working hours are fit for your company or not.
1. What is NOT a flexible working time?
Flexible working time is not sleeping in and watching TV on the coach on a Monday morning. It is not a lack of discipline, lack of organization and lack of responsibility – it is exactly the opposite.
2. What IS flexible working time?
Flexible working time means combining high levels of freedom and responsibility. So you know what you have to do and thus be available for colleagues and customers to reach out to you during work hours. You also have the freedom to decide when and where you will get your work done.
So, if you want to attend your kids’ kindergarten performance, you feel like doing sports in the early afternoon or you want to work remotely (e.g. from the mountains, from a café or from home), you are more than welcome to do it. As long as you carry out your tasks on time and perform according to the quality standards.
Flexible work hours means being in control over your time, your day and your tasks.
3. Why flexible working time?
Because we believe that it positively influences the productivity, creativity, and satisfaction of our team. In addition, the nature of our business – being consultants – predisposes and requires us to be innovative, to experiment, and to be on the go.
4. What were your employees’ reactions (for/against) and how did they change your team?
The team was very positive and enthusiastic about it. We believe that the change made our team even more engaged. We became even more conscious of how we treat our time. We don’t see the work day as a sequence of 8 hours that must be spent at the desk doing work-related things. We see it as a bundle of tasks (both work and private) which need to be finished and time is just something you manage accordingly.
5. What’s next?
We’re planning on carrying out another ‘work in nature’ week this summer when we close the office and go to the mountains for a few days and work from there while also engaging in sport and teambuilding activities.
We also have plans to get a trainer to come to the office for afternoon exercises on a regular basis, so that our team and trainees at the training center can move around and stretch. It is a well-known fact that the brain performs better after some physical activity.
Overall, we are trying to break the concept of standard office days so that people feel more at ease and more satisfied with their day.
6. Other innovations that you apply at ITCE?
We try to introduce practices and office furniture that makes us move and stand more because it has been proven that sitting for long periods of time is not healthy. So we have lots of stability balls in the office and we often sit on them. We also have a stand-up bar for meetings and individual work and, whenever possible, we try to have walking meetings.
7. What would you advice young HRs/Managers?
Every team, every company should create their own success formula for how to make flexible working time succeed, but there are a few important prerequisites in order to introduce it in the first place.
You need to trust your employees in order to give them this freedom and you need to have a good planning and performance management practice in place. This ensues clarity about what needs to be carried out and what are the standards for measuring it.
As you give a lot of freedom to your team, we’d also recommended to develop self-management skills within them.
Also, make sure to communicate that everyone is encouraged to come and work from the office but it is not mandatory. Spending quality time with your colleagues is very important for building a great team.
8. Why did you chose Escreo over a white board?
Escreo is so much better than a white board that we don’t even know where to start from. It’s more fun, it saves space, and it gives us the possibility to write and draw on a much larger area. On top of that, it makes our guests and trainees very pleasantly surprised every single time.