Leading the way in flexible working
Hedgehog Lab's Marketing & Sales Lead, Kathryn Wharton talks about flexible working and how it has impacted their teams.
21st May 2021
We’ve all had to work more flexibly in the last year.
You might have created a home office on your kitchen table or transformed the smallest nook of your home into a workstation. You’ve probably lost count of how many video calls you’ve had and been amazed by the amount of tasks you’ve delivered remotely.
Our working lives have changed dramatically and we’re thinking carefully about what we want our ‘new normal’ to be as Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift.
Flexible working is a huge part of that shift. No commutes, the option to work around kids’ school hours and the ability to fit life admin into a working day have given us a glimpse of a better work-life balance that prioritises productivity over presenteeism.
hedgehog lab has been an advocate for flexible working for many years and we now want to share our practices to encourage other digital agencies to embrace a more flexible approach to delivery.
In this blog post, you’ll find out why flexible working is so important to us, as one of the leading app development companies in the UK, and how we do it.
Let’s do things differently
There is a clear demand for a new approach to our working lives.
Covid-19 forced the nation into flexible working and provided evidence of its benefits. A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that homeworking did not have a detrimental effect on productivity for 71% of respondents. Instead, it enhanced wellbeing, skills development and collaboration and helped improve relationships between colleagues as they got to know each other as individuals and learnt more about their non-work lives.
Businesses are taking this learning into the post-pandemic world. A BBC survey found that over one million people will not return to the office full-time following the Covid-19 pandemic. Most firms questioned said they would adopt a hybrid model where staff divide their time between home and the office. In fact, 63% of employers plan to introduce or expand the use of hybrid working when all restrictions are lifted, according to the CIPD's report.
The Government is taking flexible working seriously, too. Its Flexible Working Task Force is working on guidance to support hybrid ways of working and to provide permanent job flexibility for all employees.
Flexibility is here to stay and we need to embrace everything it offers our businesses.
How we work flexibly
One of our values is ‘our team is our greatest asset’. We believe that if you create a great working environment for people and provide them with the right tools, then creating exceptional products and delivering a world-class service will follow.
That’s why we’ve offered flexible working for years.
To us, flexible working arrangements increase staff motivation, reduce employee stress, improve performance and productivity, and encourage staff retention. We offer unlimited holidays, enhanced maternity leave and the opportunity to tailor working hours around personal responsibilities.
hedgehog lab’s culture is founded on mutual trust. We don’t focus on when our team work but how effectively and efficiently they do their jobs.
Our People and Culture Lead, Aime Watson, believes this is the secret to our success: “hedgehog lab’s culture is very open and trusting, acknowledging that we’re all grown-ups and each play an important role in the company. It makes everyone happier to feel they are part of something and are trusted to work in ways that enable them to produce their best work.”
This flexible approach makes a real difference to people’s lives, not just their work. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the team adapted their working hours to manage the demands of homeschooling, including members of our senior leadership team. Some members of staff took their daily exercise in daylight hours during the winter lockdown, while others were able to attend routine appointments and pick up their work afterwards.
Our people and culture initiatives are regularly updated to take employee feedback onboard.
We use Peakon as a staff engagement tool to check-in with our team and see if there is anything else we can do to make their work lives better.
When we asked what learning we could take from Covid-19, we were inundated with responses that supported the continuous adoption of flexible working. So, we’re reviewing our policies and procedures to find out how we can do more - and we’ll keep listening and adapting to suit the changing needs of our team.
We’re so passionate about sharing the benefits of flexible working for careers in tech that we sought to accredit our approach and pass on our learning to other companies offering digital agency jobs.
We joined Flexa, a platform that helps people find truly flexible jobs. It’s Flexification accreditation is the only standard for flexibility in the UK and demonstrates our commitment to flexible working to potential employees.
Flexa states that flexibility is the most in-demand employee benefit right now and it shares our belief that a flexible workplace is a happier and more productive place to be.
To become accredited, we took the Flexification quiz to assess our approach to flexible working. The quiz considers everything from whether we’re dog friendly; how we split our time between the office and homeworking; if we have set hours, work shifts or allow employees to work around core hours; if we offer flexibility through compressed or part-time hours, job sharing, summer hours and/or sabbaticals; and how many of our senior leadership team working flexibly. The industry benchmark for the quiz is a 60% pass rate and we’re thrilled to say that hedgehog lab achieved an 85% score.
We’re aiming to make that score even higher as we continue to strengthen our flexible working approach to offer our employees the best work-life balance possible.