The traditional working week of Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm is slowly becoming a thing of the past as more and more businesses embrace flexible working arrangements.
There are huge benefits to be gained from providing a work environment that allows employees to take ownership of when and how they are most productive. It is an acknowledgement that work is only one aspect of people’s lives and often there’s a need to accommodate family commitments, hobbies or study too.
The key to making sure flexible working arrangements work effectively is regular communication and agreeing quantifiable outcomes. The focus becomes on output, rather than input.
A couple of years ago, an availability provision came into law, but there was a grace period to allow employers to comply and up until recently, we’ve really only seen action taken against employers that have zero hour contracts. This was often in the food service sector where they don’t guarantee any hours at all, but want employees to be ready and waiting just incase they need to call them in. This is now illegal.
I’ve juggled motherhood with businesshood for five of the six years I’ve been in business, and tomorrow Archie turns 5! This is my letter to him (warning, it’s a novel):
Archie, you took forever to come into this world. We were ready, you weren’t.
15 days after your due date, when April had become May, you finally started making your move and 34 hours later, I held you for the first time. It was 10:30pm the day before Mother’s Day. You looked battered and bruised, but alert and calm, and you filled me with confidence that I could totally do this mummy-gig.
You gave me such an easy start. From the very beginning you showed me the ropes of this new life as a family of three. You fed well and slept well and went through the night from 7 months old.
Everyone said you seemed like such an old soul; maybe someone who had been here before.
And that wise way hasn’t left you.
But somehow, 5 years have gone by.
I think most people would agree it’s easier to avoid issues than confront them, but often that serves to prolong the inevitable – the tough conversation has to happen eventually. And the longer an issue goes on, the harder it is to address.
A toxic employee has to be called out, regardless of whether or not they’re talented. In fact, some would argue that more talented the employee, the more they should be held to account in exhibiting the right behaviours because they could be looked up to by others in the organisation who then copy what they see.
Regardless of how tricky the conversation may be, it has to happen.
Here’s some advice on how to get underway:
With the changes to the 90 day trial period coming into effect on 6th May, conversations have resurfaced about the effectiveness of using probationary periods as an alternative.
Certainly, there is merit in using them but it should be done with caution.
The intent of a probationary period is to assess an employee’s skill set for a particular position – this means that (unlike the 90 day trial period), it can be used for an ex-employee coming back into the organisation or for a current employee moving into a new role.
However, there are some things to keep in mind regarding a probationary period:
Amongst HR professionals, there is often discussion about how easily employees can get medical certificates when they are requested (usually after 3 days of absence).
However, if you have an employee who is delaying producing the medical certificate when requested (or totally unable to provide one), you have two courses of action to take.
On 1st April the new Domestic Violence – Victim’s Protection Bill comes into effect. This piece of legislation entitles employees affected by domestic violence to up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per year, in order to deal with the effects of domestic violence.
Parenting is a tough gig. It’s basically like doing an apprenticeship but without anyone to teach you the theory side. It’s practical from day one, and it’s all ‘on the job’ training.
And there’s no qualification to work towards.
For someone like me, with an academic background, that’s tough. I’ve spent thousands of dollars gaining a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA as ‘proof’ that I’m good at what I do, and in the professional world, that counts for something. The qualifications give me confidence that I do know what I’m doing.
But as a parent, it’s different.
I feel like I’m constantly in limbo, teetering between thinking I’ve totally nailed it one day, and the next day, thinking I’ve plummeted from top of the class to the absolute bottom.
This weekend epitomised how tough it is.
I used to be obsessed with making new years’ resolutions. I’d vow to eat healthier, exercise more, swear less. They were pretty arbitrary pledges and more often than not, I’d completely forgotten what they were once the second week of January hit, which means it was a pretty pointless endeavour.
Once I started in the working world, my new years’ resolutions became “goals” for the year. A fancier term, but essentially the same result. Again, they were crazy promises that were too whimsical, too unfocused, and quite frankly, too hard to keep.
Since then, through my own experiences, doing some study, reading books, and following successful business people around the world, I’ve learnt about the art of setting goals that inspire you, motivate you, and drive you to smash them out of the park.
Putting down roots in a new town is massive. If you’ve done it before, you’ll know what I mean. It’s such a crazy scary thing.
And starting a small business in a small town is crazy scary too. There are just so many unknowns that you really feel like you’re taking a gamble.
Before I made the move here to Otorohanga I spent a fair few sleepless nights wondering what I would be getting myself into.
I wondered if the district was somewhere you could start a business, and make it a success.
I wondered if it’d be a nice place to raise a family.
I wondered if I’d make friends.
I wondered if there was passion. Energy. A sense of community.
I wondered if it was a town living or dying.