We're proud to be finalists in the Global Agency Awards
We've been shortlisted for our flexible working policies, including our 4-day work weeks.
The best awards are those that reflect the work you do for the people your business serves (our clients) and the people who make up our business (our team-members). So, we're delighted to have been named as finalists in the Global Agency Awards 2023 for flexible working.
It's great to be recognized for the effort we have put into making SystemSeed work for our team members as well as our clients. I love the flexibility we offer our team, and I know they do too.
If you're wondering what it is about how we work that meant we were shortlisted, here are some of the things we offer our people:
A 4-day working week (at 100% salary)
For over two years we have only worked 4 days a week, closing the company on Fridays. This is enabled by clever automation of client web maintenance tasks and clear client communications on emergency support.
Core hours from 10am to 4pm by timezone
Wherever a SystemSeeder is located, they need to be available from 10-4 in their timezone. The rest of their 8 hours of work each day can occur whenever they like.
Work from anywhere
As long as SystemSeeders can access a good internet connection and a quiet space for online meetings, they can work from any country or venue.
Most people choose to work from home, but others like to use co-working locations for a change. We provide a membership that covers international co-working locations to enable this.
Global bank-holiday policy
Holidays vary by country and culture, so SystemSeeders get to pick which ones they take off. An extra 5 days is added to our time-off allowance to accommodate this.
No-note sick days
We trust our people, and no one needs to supply a sick note if they are off due to illness for 5 days or less. As long as they let their manager know, there are no questions asked.
Quick time-off approvals
We make a point of approving leave requests quickly so that SystemSeeders can plan their holidays without stress.
Centralized calendars so everyone knows what’s happening
Everyone uses their calendar to show their available hours so that their non-work time is respected.
A-synchronous communications as standard
Our main method of team communication is Slack and we are very disciplined about it. This supports our flexible working style whilst ensuring a quicker response time than email.
You could be fired for working Fridays!
To make sure that all SystemSeeders are complying with our policies - in particular the 4-day week - they would be warned once, and then potentially let go if they are seen to be working on Fridays.
Flexible working benefits
We've seen significant results from our flexible working policies, including:
- Recruitment advantage: Candidates are extremely keen on our flexible working hours and 4-day weeks in particular.
- Fewer sick days: Over the past two years, SystemSeeders have taken 2.5 x fewer sick days than previously as a result of moving to 4-day weeks.
- Lower stress levels: In their one-to-ones, our people report feeling less stressed as they have more non-work time available.
- Less burn-out: Our team’s therapist has seen a drop in signs of burnout to almost zero. As a team of high-performing individuals, we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves, so this is a huge benefit.
- Greater inclusivity: Flexible ‘bank holiday’ dates mean that each person can choose to celebrate their own cultural or religious holidays as they wish. Additionally, having core hours and Fridays off are particularly useful for parents and carers. They also help those who need to manage their energy carefully due to a health condition or disability.
- More open-source contributions and technical writing: SystemSeeders are voluntarily helping to organize, and take part in, open-source contribution days, as well as writing more articles on their discipline. Instances of both have more than doubled in the last two years.
- More individual training: We’ve long had an unlimited training budget, but since moving to 4-day weeks, it’s easier for SystemSeeders to find the time and brain space to take training. Optional training has increased by 50% in the last year.
- No negative impact on clients: Our client’s deadlines are still being met, and they actually save money, because we’re using fewer workdays to get them there. Quality of delivery remains high and is more consistent, as our people are less tired and so make fewer mistakes.
- Low impact on billable hours: Since moving to a 4-day week we’ve seen only a 6.3% drop in billable hours. It’s a very small difference and far outweighed by the other benefits.
You may be asking yourself what's special about the way that we manage all of them above, well:
- Some companies do some of these things but we do ALL of them.
- We offer exceptional flexibility with clear rules that apply to everyone on the team.
- These options are often only seen in big businesses with big budgets, but we’re doing it as a very small company.
- There are very few employers of any size that listen to their employees to this extent and make changes based on that feedback.
- Our leadership team models the right behavior to allow individuals to use their flexible time well. They don’t do emails and requests on Fridays or when they are on holiday.
- No one wants to go back to a 5-day week and inflexible hours.
- The feedback from our team on our flexible working opportunities is consistently 10/10.
Here are some useful links from us and others:
Want to do this in your business?
If you'd like to know more and get some help implementing truly flexible working in your business, let us know. We'd be happy to help you get here too.