Leading by Flexible Example

ScreenCloud’s VP People, Ginni Lisk, talks about ScreenCloud’s approach to flexible working and the positive impact it has had on the business and their employees.

7th May 2021

ScreenCloud’s VP People, Ginni Lisk, talks about ScreenCloud’s approach to flexible working and the positive impact it has had on the business and their employees.

The pandemic has been a forcing factor that has pushed (pulled, or perhaps even dragged) employers into thinking differently about their working norms. But while many companies are now only starting to appreciate the benefits of enabling flexible working for their employees, we’re proud to say that flexibility has always been at the heart of ScreenCloud.  I believe there are many contributing reasons for this but one thing is clear; the core driver of our flexible approach is trust.  ScreenClouders are trusted to work flexibly because they are trusted as individuals.

As ScreenCloud’s VP People, this basis of trust means I don’t need to approach my role with a mindset of internal ‘command and control’ of our ‘human resource’ (and thankfully so, because that just isn’t my style!)  Instead I’m focused on sustaining a palpably trust-based company culture; a culture that sees our people appropriately enabled, with fairly managed expectations and thereafter sees the business get out of their way to deliver for our customer.  This means being constantly mindful of striking the right balance... a balance between providing a thoughtfully and deliberately designed People Experience that enables all ScreenClouders and that simultaneously recognises the individual.

So... all this established flexibility, enablement of the team and prioritisation of the individual means that we’ve been sailing through the pandemic, right?

Of course not.

It’s absolutely the case that we believe our people have coped better as a result of previously experiencing the ‘hybrid’ model so many are talking about now.  But to suggest that we’ve been immune to Covid’s impact would be inaccurate.  We’ve had to furlough.  We’ve had to reduce wages (thankfully only temporarily; and at all levels, CSuite included.)  Our revenue has been impacted.

The past 12 months haven’t been easy for the business and they haven’t been easy for the team either. True to our core values and the behaviours we hold ourselves accountable to (these are ‘Trust & Transparency’, ‘Unconventional & Brave’ and ‘Integrity’) we’ve shared the details with all our ScreenClouders and have been appropriately open about where we’re at. That means at all times walking the fine line between the transparency the team deserves, and communicating with care to avoid creating additional anxiety.  Our team’s response has been - and continues to be - amazing.

 We’re not taking our foot off the gas either! Quite the opposite.  The very nature of our business means that as the world starts to open up and businesses settle into their ‘new normals’, how companies communicate with their customers and their employees is a timely and important conversation that ScreenCloud has a key voice in.  After the bumpy-ness of Covid, we’re straight into what we’re confident is going to be a pacy period of growth, at venture scale.  We’re excited to see our product, purpose and people have an even greater impact for all sorts of businesses, globally.  We need a team that is ready, motivated and performing well.

As we see the metrics moving in the right direction, an assumption that all the hard-work, commitment and stress in getting to this point leaves no residual impact on our employees, would be naive.  Members of our team have experienced the pressure and stress of less-than-ideal work from home setups and the inescapable difficulties that equally less-than-ideal landlords cause by not fixing dodgy heating or damp walls.  For some, being stuck at home has been awful.  We’ve all been affected to varying degrees and in various ways by social isolation.  Some of our employees have been ill with Covid.  Others have experienced bereavement. 

We’re also an international business employing people who have been having all these experiences in four hubs across the world.  While our London, LA and Belfast teams have been adjusting to strict lockdowns, easing of those lockdowns and more than just the company’s own ‘roadmap’, our Bangkok team have had a very different experience - and are unfortunately, seemingly now in the midst of a Covid-19 wave.

All things considered, this means that our plan is to stay as we have always been; a deliberately remote-friendly (and deliberately not remote-first) company.

We will continue to enable both asynchronous and altogether more collaborative ways of working by providing choice.  All ScreenClouders will continue to be able to work some days from home during the week while also having the benefit of sole use, bright and well-ventilated office spaces to head into on other days.

We’re remaining firmly ‘output over effort’ and we are staying committed to avoiding all forms of clockwatching... if delivery is good, our employees' exact start and finish times don’t matter.  ScreenClouders benefit from flexitime. If they’d like to avoid a nasty rush hour commute, spend a couple of hours in the park with their families or fur-babies at lunchtime, deal with life-admin, take a yoga class or attend a medical appointment, they can. ScreenClouders can do whatever they need to do without having to plead the time off.

To help facilitate home working, we offer all employees a ‘working from home’ fund to improve their home office space.  ScreenClouders also all have a flexible fund to spend on their personal development each year, enabled by constant career conversations with their managers and the business. It is the individual’s prerogative how they choose to spend these funds. This gives ScreenClouders the autonomy to identify and invest in the best sources of support for their productivity and their learning paths. 

We understand that the pandemic has limited options for travelling abroad or going out to spend time with friends and family, however we continue to encourage employees to take regular time off. All ScreenClouders have unlimited annual leave, so there’s no counting days, or stressing about having enough time off if they need to take a rest from work (and for all the unlimited holiday naysayers; yes - we enforce a minimum!)

We rely on good communication and effective collaboration. Our leadership team stays constantly mindful of silo-busting in order to achieve results.  While other businesses are proudly declaring themselves remote-first (and then mentioning with haste that workshops, planning, collaboration and social integration will all be enabled somehow... that a satellite office is coming, or that memberships to co-working spaces are being allocated) we’re keeping our message clear.  We believe hybrid is the best of both worlds. 

Enabling employees through asynchronous mechanisms of information, updates, managed expectations and career conversations, providing in-office, connected and collaborative experiences and trusting those employees with the freedom to choose how they would like to work is the ideal combination for us.  It means that employees have more agency and more autonomy, are better rested and that risk of burnout and chronic stress is reduced.  ScreenClouders are able to maintain a healthy personal life, to prioritise their wellbeing and to spend more time with their loved ones.  In return, we nurture a high-performing team.

 We believe that flexibility isn’t the future, it is the now.

Want to find out more about ScreenCloud? Check out their Company Page!