The following words are included in my email signature.
“We work flexibly. Please don’t feel like you need to reply until regular working hours”
It’s surprising how much positive feedback I get from this simple inclusion. People appreciate that even if they receive an email from me after hours, there is no pressure to reply until it works for their schedule.
While flexibility has experienced a rise in popularity throughout the pandemic, it’s always been important to me. In fact, I started my business ten years ago, when I could not find employment that allowed me to both parent my eldest son, who was born with congenital heart disease, frequently requiring hospitalisation and work.
There has never been anything “regular” about my business – not in the hours I work or the locations I work from. I’ve run my business from all over the world (when travelling was a thing) and from the ward of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital when my son’s health called for it, with no regard for timezones and nothing but a Surface Pro.
And as my business has grown over the years, my team have also appreciated the flexible work environment. While they predominantly work 9am to 5pm, if life requires they do the school run or get their car serviced, they can meet those demands and pick up work outside of their regular hours. No questions asked, no eyebrows raised.
With a workplace no longer a defined physical space thanks to COVID-19, now is an excellent time for employers and employees to continue the conversation on what greater workplace flexibility looks like and the potential impact it can have.
With the right technology, systems, relationships and integrity, increasing flexibility can also increase productivity, work-life balance and happiness.