Nowadays, I can’t imagine a company not offering some sort of flexibility to its employees. Employees demand it and rightly so. And, although I laugh somewhat at the term “work-life balance,” which implies that work is not part of your life, I understand its intent. I think that Shauna and I go out of our way to accommodate our employees’ need for flexibility with family, school, volunteer time, or any other activity outside of work. It’s one of the benefits you can offer quite easily as a small company.
Currently, all of our employees—whether project-based or salaried—work at home. This, of course, offers a sort of built-in flexibility, but we do have guidelines so that people know what we expect. We have a comprehensive employee handbook, checklists, templates, and procedures so that people do not have to reinvent the wheel on each new project. That means they can get their projects done efficiently and enjoy their flex and free time.
Also, working at home does not mean that employees at McMul don’t have to meet deadlines, be available for phone calls, or be on site at times. We are not that flexible. However, all of our project-based employees are able to accept or turn down projects as suits their schedule.
We also are flexible as to start time as long as people include prime time business hours (10 am-3 pm) in their daily schedules, and if people on a full-time job want to work a ten-hour day four days a week, that usually works. We have an online calendar for people to post their availability and keep updated schedules. We are a bit stricter with our salaried employees, but they receive a generous amount of vacation, holiday, compensatory, and sick time.
Overall, we feel that if you offer good benefits, such as flex time, you attract good people. If you have good people, you can make your clients happy. If you make your clients happy, you stay in business. That may sound pragmatic, but that’s reality. We want people to enjoy their work, work hard, and get well compensated for it. Flexibility is part of that compensation.
So, in closing, we are not trying to be the most fun company around and we don’t pretend to be part of our workers’ families. Instead, we aim to keep our reputation stellar by treating our employees and our clients well and enabling people to spend time with their families, at school, or volunteering, and we work with them so they can accommodate and enjoy their lives outside work.