Flexible work arrangements – they’re out there!
CASE STUDY – FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS
JobFlex loves hearing from organisations who actively promote flexibility in the workplace. Today we bring you a Case Study from Sydney based copy writing service, the Copy Collective.
Caring for children, aged parents, busy partners who travel a lot, change of pace, career transition – the reasons given to The Copy Collective for flexible working arrangements are as variable as the 40 plus people involved in the business.
The company employs eight people plus has a pool of more than 40 freelancers (contributors in The Copy Collective’s lexicon).
Founder and CEO Dominique Antarakis says: “I started a business where I would have wanted to work myself when I was a freelancer starting out. I wanted interesting work, at hours that suited me and I wanted to be paid on time.”
Maureen Shelley who is The Copy Collective’s Chief Operating Officer, says the business employs six others, and has experienced year-on-year growth since 2008.
“At The Copy Collective, we work with three values in mind – love, trust and peace. Flexible working arrangements and teleworking are an integral part of that,” she says.
“We have eight people who ‘work’ for The Copy Collective and our offices are in Chippendale. Three of those are part time and all of us work from home some of the time. I work from home in Lindfield most of the time and we have one staff member who works from home in Perth – it really doesn’t matter where you are as long as you have a good internet connection.
“Because we operate on trust, we just give people jobs to do and expect them to do it – we don’t have people filling out endless time sheets, we don’t have people watching when they walk or walk out the door. However, because we run a cloud-based business, there is a lot of electronic traffic that shows when people have been working.”
Shelley says that by giving people responsibility and autonomy, productivity is much higher. “I don’t have to tell people to work, start work or stay at work – I have to tell them to stop and to take time off. Recently, I had a bit of a discussion with one staff member who wanted to work on the Monday public holiday when she should have been relaxing.”
The Copy Collective makes extensive use of cloud-based software to run its distributed business.
“We have Salesforce as our CRM and Dropbox for files. We have business subscriptions for both of these and I have an app called Hojoki on my iPhone and computer. Through Hojoki, I can see every file that’s moved in or out of Salesforce and Dropbox, every change that’s made to files in Salesforce, every interaction on Chatter (Salesforce’s social media platform) as well as updates on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. I don’t need to monitor people, I monitor what they’re doing,” Shelley says.
Apart from these Software-as-a-Service platforms, The Copy Collective also uses Employment Hero and Xero accounting software. Shelley says: “These programs are integral to our business success. Xero allows people to apply for leave, print their own Payment Summaries for taxation purpose, it means that they can log on at any time and check exactly what they’ve been paid and when, when they are due for leave and how much – it also records how much personal leave that they take.
“Then Employment Hero has all their contracts in the one place with all our workplace policies such as our ‘working from home’ agreements. Everything is laid out and simple. If there are any questions either they or I can check – at any time and from anywhere.”
Shelley says that the business case for flexible work practices is compelling.
“All the research shows that it increases morale and lowers absenteeism or –what I think of as worse – presentee-ism. When people have autonomy, they are much happier, when they’re happier they work more and when they work the hours they want and from where they want, they are far more committed to the organisation.”