Working Differently- What an event

Working Differently… What an event!

Two weeks ago, I was lucky to attend an event run by the brilliant Lightstart called Working Differently. I will be completely honest I had been working silly hours during the week and the last thing I wanted on a Thursday night was to leave the house… I am so glad I did

I arrived in the torrential rain… why does Leeds not have all mobile paid parking? I was scrabbling for change hiding under a winter hat I had found in the boot. You can imagine this really helped my mood.

As soon as I walked in to the Sedulo offices and saw lots of familiar faces my mood lifted. The offices are seriously impressive with very comfy seats in turquoise my favourite colour, wine and pizza!

The speakers were engaging, funny and most of all honest they don’t have all answers, no one does. It was refreshing to hear the honesty of how people are trying flexible working but getting so many elements wrong. We are all new to this. What is working for one person isn’t necessarily working for others… there is no formula like the old 9-5

When the legend Dolly said, “working 9-5 what a way to make a living, barely getting by, it’s all taking and no giving.” She was right times have changed people are more productive at different times of the day. I am a morning person I often email at 6am but underst and most people aren’t up yet.  Lots of facts and figures were shared at the event and one that really stuck with me… “we are only productive for four hours a day” So what are we filling the rest of the day with…. Coffees, chatting, thinking about other things and generally procrastinating? Why not use that time to do the other things you need to achieve in your life? And use your four hours to focus on the work that needs done?

When I set up it was to challenge lots of aspects of recruitment, but I wanted to have a better work life balance. Recruitment typically means talking to people when they are not at work so why not start early take a break mid-morning and continue after work hours! Changing the hours to suit the needs of the job? I am not getting this right by any stretch of the imagination… I opened this article by saying I have been working too many hours, I have a lot of room for improvement.

I was talking to and sat beside people changing the way in work in a variety of sectors including very traditional sectors with companies who have been going for decades and have rigid work processes. I took away so many great ideas from the session, I come from a world when your client emails you, you email back asap, a very obvious point but if I email at 6am and don’t expect a response why would clients or employees expect an immediate response?

Most of the speakers spoke about their company mottos, culture or vision and they included things like “no dickheads”, “treat people like adults and they will behave like adults.” And “trust is there until it isn’t” My moto in life is “don’t be a dick” I think it covers everything pretty well, in a simple self-explanatory way and works in every situation! When I employed Linda (my first employee) I wanted the contract to be simple, easy to underst and and not pages of legal jargon. We had a conversation about the HR manual which I wanted to just be my moto. The hours of the work are not only flexible for her to take her children to school and pick them up but just read “Hours of work are flexible for the job to fill the jobs and keep the clients happy” It was great to hear of professional services companies and lawyers who also do not have lengthy contracts, staff h andbooks and hours of work.

So, lets throw away the rule book and the staff h andbook and trust each other to do a good job… We have a long way to go and I appreciate I am a very small fish in flexible working, but we are all trying and learning along the way.

Ps this photo is like my last day at school photo with my end of the day crinkled top and looking really proud of my certificate!

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