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Corporate culture

Next-level flexibility: how we prioritize work-life harmony

Ivana Markovic
Aug 16, 2021 ∙ 4 mins
women jumping of joy on the top of a mountain

At Osedea, we have always valued flexibility and work-life harmony. This topic is a priority for us, as it lines up perfectly with our vision and values. But let’s back up a bit.

We prioritize hearing our team’s input and meeting their needs. Any time we would bring a new initiative or benefit that would bring more flexibility to our team, the response was highly positive. But we also looked into more general data to see if our direction aligned with workplace expectations. Did you know that workplace flexibility is one of the things that your colleagues appreciate the most in your workplace?

A recent Deloitte study found that 94% of workers want workplace flexibility in forms of remote work and flexible hours (Source: Forbes). The reasons why flexibility scores high among team members are: it helps better manage stress and improve mental health and lets us better integrate work and personal life.

We’ve put ourselves on a mission to bring flexibility to the next level and incorporate it into everything we do. Whether you’re looking to join our team and learn more about our flexibility or you’re looking for help to implement initiatives in your organization, this blog post will be a helpful guide.

Flexibility everyday

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we valued flexibility. But the journey through multiple challenges during the pandemic has pushed us to rethink how to not only offer flexibility, but encourage our team to benefit from it and incite them to take part of it. Here are some ways flexibility can be reflected in the everyday environment:

  • Our team members can organize their days around their schedule, there is no fixed start time for your day. Everyone can organize their schedule around their preferred times. Some team members enjoy working out or running errands, others might have family commitments. The goal is for the team to leverage this flexibility and organize their schedule to ensure they achieve their goals at work and in their life.
  • Our vacation policy is extremely flexible. You can take vacation whenever you need and you can discuss it with your colleagues. This allows us to book a last-minute long weekend or vacation.
  • We don’t require our team to be present in person, and no minimum days at the office, and this even after the COVID-19 restrictions end. We encourage everyone to choose the best space that makes them more efficient at work and in their life. And yes, we’re still able to maintain a strong team culture through company rituals, continued collaboration and mutual feedback.

Flexibility to accomplish big things

One of the key elements of our vision is to allow our team to accomplish themselves, not only at work, but beyond. We’ve built a ton of programs to reach next level flexibility in their lives.

  • Dreams Come True - Since the early Osedea days we created this program to allow our team to have a paid sabbatical, allowing them to reach a personal goal: a major trip, time with family, a home project, volunteering, etc. It has been a great success. We give our team extra vacation and 5,000$ after two years of service to realize their goal. To read more on this initiative you can take a look at one of our blog posts: Our take on a powerful workplace benefit: the paid employee sabbatical and Getting away from it all: my paid sabbatical to Vietnam.
  • Work from anywhere - For 2 to 8 weeks, our team can relocate to a cottage, a tropical island or anywhere in the world and work from there. There are a few reasons that pushed us to extend this added flexibility to our team: 1) As a diverse team, we have colleagues from all over the world. Their families are often not located where they’re currently living. Offering this allows our team to spend some time with their loved ones across the globe, without having to take vacation days or filing special requests. 2) In Canada, winters can be tough. Offering the team members the possibility to move around during the height of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a great way to prioritize well-being. 3) Many of us have passions like travel, hiking, skiing, etc. This initiative allows us to live those passions while continuing our contributions at work.
  • We offer our team the possibility to reduce work weeks while maintaining all their benefits. This means they could work at 80% or 90% capacity. While this benefit requires planning and coordination on our end, offering the team this ensures that they prioritize whatever is most important to them.

Final words

Flexibility will be more present in the workspace for the decade to come, we’re convinced of that. And our goal with offering a flexible workplace is to meet the needs of our team and also provide a workplace that allows each of us to accomplish ourselves at work and in personal projects. We remain on the lookout for more ideas that can help us achieve a great workplace and are open to our team feedback. Those two elements are key in our approach.

While it’s easy to create flexible benefits, it’s important to follow through and let everyone live that flexibility by removing barriers and communicating clearly the role it plays in achieving work-life harmony.

Photo credit: Peter Conlan.