“I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I run the company, to do things differently. I wanted to have time to do work when I felt like it, and have fun when I felt like it,’’ said Michael Honey.
Four day working week
A ‘compressed working week’ was implemented which involved doing five days’ worth of work, over four days. The initial longer working day arrangement didn’t however suit Icelab and its culture and after six months Michael decided to change approach and only operate during standard business hours, Monday to Thursday. This changed approach was supported by a ‘work from anywhere’ policy and the right communication and working tools.
Importantly for a small business, Icelab’s clients are very supportive and often ask questions to understand how they can take a more flexible approach in their own business or workplace.
“If you can make the workplace workable for people in different circumstances, those people will be able to work better in those circumstances,” said Michael.
Work from anywhere policy
Icelab’s work from anywhere policy was built on two key foundations, trust and the right equipment.
For Michael, trust is the cornerstone of the flexible working arrangements at Icelab. Employees are trusted to meet their deliverables even when they’re not physically present in the workplace. This is an essential part of Icelab’s approach to flexible recruitment. Trust also extends to the clients who are made aware of their flexible workplace during the quoting stage so there are no surprises along the way.
“It wouldn’t work in an environment where I didn’t trust people. Ideally, I’m hiring people who are better than me at the things they can do, so I should trust them to do those things,” said Michael.
The right tools and support
Investing in the right equipment has insured that Icelab’s employees can access their files and contact their colleagues from remote locations. For Icelab the right equipment includes:
- Slack messenger – this is a shared virtual workspace for all employees to converse.
- Trello – this is a collaboration tool that lets you organise and prioritises projects in the one place.
- Dropbox – this service allows you to create, share, collaborate and keep all files in the one location.
To help manage Icelab’s distributed workforce, Icelab also made the decision to invest in cloud storage. Cloud storage is a simple and accessible way to store, access, and share data over the Internet.
“Operating in the cloud allows all staff to access project files, and team communication, regardless of their geographical location,” said Michael.
Finding a flexible way to grow the business, while maintaining a supportive workplace, has been a positive experience for Icelab.
“You owe it to yourself and your business to experiment and figure out what is best for you. Consider your mindset on this, and execute those changes,” said Michael.