Over the last few months, we’ve been conducting quite a few interviews thanks to our growing design department. One of the topics that can came up regularly was the opportunity to have flexible working hours.
In fact, for one candidate, being able to have flexi-time was a not negotiable. We asked her why and her answer was that as a working mom, she preferred to take her child to school then return home and do an hour or two of work. Missing the morning traffic, she would then arrive at work at about 9:30 and work through the day, leaving work at about 4 PM. She would then fetch her child from school and after family time, she would then be able to work on her laptop for another hour or so. We pointed out to her that this meant she was probably working on average between 9 and 10 hours a day.
As a creative company, we may operate slightly out of the ordinary in that we have an incredibly structured work environment. Our office hours are from 08:00 until 16:30 every day and our staff hardly ever work overtime. Early on, we realised that the most effective way to get work done was to get it done quickly and efficiently. As a female-owned company (read “working mothers”) we appreciate and cherish the time we get to spend with our families. We have found that we can achieve the correct work life balance, if we have a structured time at the office. From 8:00 to 16:30 we focus on work and our business completely, and then when we leave for the day we are able to focus on our families, completely.
When we pointed out to the candidate that she would have the opportunity to work only eight hours a day, with no work requirements after 16:30, her non-negotiable flexi-time requirement became less important.
We do understand the challenges faced with traffic in our surroundings, but personally we have found the benefit in structured working hours: it gives us valuable, much-needed quality time at home with our families, without work interruptions.