When David attended the first Flexpo in 2019, he recalled “People were asking, ‘How can I write the business case for flexible working? How can I refuse an application for flexible working!? How that conversation has moved on.
60% of the FSCS board is now intentionally female and more men are taking full parental leave, reversing the gender pay gap which is now 1.49% in favour of females.
It was great to see that Flexible Working wasn’t all about how we work, but also about the types of people we work with. I attended the Culture Amp and Deep Insights talks on Day 1 and it was fascinating to hear about how the way we manage people and develop their performance can be so diverse and inclusive. Both companies helped organisations to develop their people, instead of ‘dry’ topics about standard performance management tools, they really focused on ‘Understanding your teams and embracing all their differences’.
The theme continued with talks from Ingeus UK and Ambitious about Autism. Both worked with under-represented groups and are really challenging how we deal with diversity in the workplace – Yes, we need to offer true flexible working that supports individual’s needs, but let’s also look at how we recruit, train people and ultimately broaden our workforce to include those amazing people that are currently overlooked. As a mum with an autistic son, it genuinely brought tears to my eyes to hear the great stuff that’s going on!
My overall takeaway is – True change happens together and for that to happen people need to be on the same page. We need to rebalance the relationship between me and us!
Successful and happy workforces require 3 key things:
To achieve these things, there needs to be accountability from individuals and organisations.
It’s clear that there needs to be a culture shift to make real change – which sticks! This needs to come from the top in order to propel this change forward. Addressing this issue with leadership teams maintains confidence and reassures, so they’re not scared of change – they can see the benefits and they have guidance and support to make the change for the better.
I met Stefan from Now Pensions, he is based in The Netherlands and commutes each week to the UK and spends 2-3 days in the UK – the ultimate definition of flexible working.
I attended a talk by Fika, Fran talked about the software they created, which makes it easy to achieve a great team culture. The software plugs into your regular team meetings and career pathways, it supports continuous manager development, boost’s teamwork, trust and confidence. For larger companies it can be a way to achieve the ‘in person camaraderie of office life’ whilst still offering flexible and hybrid working models. It can also help to reduce ‘manager burden’ and ‘intention to leave’, which is being seen increasingly, especially in middle management.
Fran spoke about the meaning of the word Fika in Swedish – it roughly translates as drinking coffee, munching sweet treats and chatting. At many companies in Sweden, it’s mandatory for all workers to have a designated time during the day to sit down and do ‘fika’. I loved the idea of fika, as when in work mode, often we are so busy rushing to complete a task to start the next that we don’t take the time to get to know our work colleagues – fika provides the opportunity to do this without feeling guilty that you’re not ‘getting on with work’ or that the ‘boss will be watching me’.
The final point from Fran’s presentation was when she asked the audience to pair up and discuss, ‘If you could have a superpower what would it be?’ It was an amazing conversation starter – which I have since used at a networking event. Everyone’s response was completely different and very revealing about the type of person they are.
No one has the answers yet, there are pockets of brilliance, pockets of resistance and a lot of trialling and testing to see what works.
It is accepted that there is a need for the office – but what the office is used for differs from company to company.
Particularly interesting was Hoxby’s asynchronous working – looking at activities where you need to be together in person as an attraction for being employees into the office – task oriented rather than time bound.
EI has gained traction into cultural intelligence embracing and learning how to live and work with someone who is not like you. Conversation centred around how to build your business culture to be diverse and inclusive as well as brave and kind.
Overwhelmingly it seemed as though there is a spectrum of flexibility. Innovative businesses and cultures are trying and testing different models for diverse people and making the employees accountable for their choices within frameworks of time, place, family, well-being and productivity.
We look forward to seeing you on 23rd June for #FlexForwardBrighton – details to follow.
Responsive site designed and developed byClick to go Madison Web Solutions' website