Lifework Balance – Flexible Working for All

Work doesn’t work.

Certainly not for parents.

Any parent who holds down any sort of job at all has my huge admiration and respect.

There’s so much written about flexible working and yet so many of us working parents don’t have access to it. No doubt it makes their life less productive, more stressful, and definitely impacts their happiness.

And yet we all accept that Happy employees make Happy company profit.

I have huge admiration for Jack Ma but his 996 policy is lunacy. Mr Ma is concerned that China’s quite unbelievable double-digit growth over the last 40 years is at threat because too many Chinese millennials think working 9am to 9pm six days a week isn’t something they want to buy into anymore. Huge respect to them. But maybe he’s right. If you work 100% more than normal people – maybe you get 100% more things done. I’ve pitched this to the team for someone to trial for me…. So far no willing volunteers.

At the other end of the scale you have Sweden’s Spotify revolutionising the idea of maternity leave in one fell swoop by giving the exact same rights to fathers as they do to mothers. They’re even back dating it to 2013!!! Instantly, instead of hating on the new mums with their 6-9 month “holiday” we dads too can finally appreciate the break of sitting at a desk or riding on a train without interruption.

So who’s right? China or Sweden? I know who I’m backing – move over Grandad!!!

I’m lucky – I started a company where we can define our own rules and fuck convention. We believe in a true lifework balance – it’s part of our purpose – our being – our everything!

Our purpose is simple;

  • Change the world through giving #11% of our profits to charity
  • Give the legends that join us a true #lifework balance

The second part of our purpose and our promise to the honest, dedicated and talented legends that join our rollercoaster is a true lifework balance. I hate the term work life balance – it’s a perfect irony of getting everything wrong.

We give our team fully flexible working, any hours, any day and anywhere.

I don’t give a shit when they work, when they are most effective or when they need to get their nails done. It’s just simply not important. What is important is trust. I trust them to get the job done on their terms.

That level of responsibility either makes people thrive or dive. It’s not right for everyone but it’s the only way we will operate going forward. Most people said I was mad to offer unlimited holiday. I got bored arguing my case so went out and proved it to everyone. We have grown our team to 21 now and had no more than a couple of issues in the last four years.

As I said, it’s not right for everyone but we assume that everyone we employ deep down will act responsibly with the power they have and we trust them to deliver. We do not let one or two rotten apples ruin the apple cart.

It’s hard. It takes commitment, focus, honesty and clear communication but it works.

I find it appalling that main stream employment seems to regard parents – particularly mothers – as completely unemployable because they may want a slightly different set up to their working hours. Wake up idiots! Having become a father myself in the last three years, I have so so much respect for any parent who even attempts to hold down a job.

When you become a parent your entire being changes. Your whole life has been turned upside down and emotionally you are so different. Being able to offer parents work that fits around their life is a game changer. More and more businesses are doing it but the uptake seems painfully slow. I see it as an opportunity – we get access to phenomenal talent purely on a technicality. Funnily enough we employ a lot of parents, a lot of mothers and a lot of part time roles.

If you give people work that works around their life, what they give you back is awesome – such commitment, such dedication and such loyalty. Things that no massive salary can replace. Ultimately, we are giving our team control over their time and that is everyone’s only true currency. They choose how to spend their time – and boy the level of efficiency that comes with parents as employees is off the scale.

Our working mothers are quite extraordinary and sometimes I feel like shouting WAKE UP to the world and then I remember that it’s not my problem to fix. If other employers don’t get it already they may never get it and that’s their problem. For us it’s working a dream.

I was explaining to someone recently that our lifework balance commitment is our biggest asset in recruitment – one of our key USPs.

Most people continue to use the term worklife balance – how fucking ironic is that?

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