Passion projects: creating a dynamic workplace through flexible working
My time at Meeting Place stretches back almost as far as the kitchen table that our Chairman/Founder references when he talks about starting the company.
Over the last thirteen years, I have seen the company, the team and the culture grow and evolve significantly. Learning and self-development are hugely important to me and central to our company values, so being in a work environment that allows space to do this is invaluable.
The Meeting Place team of today has varying professional interests, hobbies, political allegiances, and cultural backgrounds, which is what makes the company so diverse and vibrant.
My personal interest outside of work is health and wellbeing. As with many interests, this has come out of my own life experience. I’ve always wanted to learn more but never knew when ‘the right time’ would be to explore this without having to choose between that and a job I enjoy.
With mid-life well and truly underway, four years ago I decided it was important for me to ‘scratch that itch’, so I signed up to a course in Nutritional Therapy.
What I hadn’t anticipated is just how challenging balancing work, family life and all other life’s little curve balls (like a global pandemic) would be. Four years later, I’ve completed 1 year of Biomedicine, studied modules on pharmacology, non-communicable diseases, different nutrients and body systems.
I’ve completed 200 clinic hours, and learned that when it comes to nutrition, one size most definitely does not fit all, bringing me to the end of my study.
Managing the completion of this course alongside parenting two teens takes hard work. It was great to be so supported and encouraged by my colleagues and workplace during this time, especially given our flexible ‘tribrid’ working policy, which allows us all to work either from home, a third party location or our regional office hubs.
Our flexible policy also means I’ve been able to work a four-day week and have taken holiday to complete coursework and attend additional lectures.
Post-pandemic, flexible working is a much wider expectation from organisations. Workers saw they were able to work remotely and enjoy a greater work-life balance. A company that supports flexible working will widen its appeal to potential employees, with two-fifths of organisations reporting an increase in flexible working following the pandemic.
Similarly, nearly three quarters of jobseekers said being able to work flexibly is important to them. With over 83% of organisations having hybrid working in place, if your business isn’t meeting this demand, employees will seek work elsewhere.
It is in the interest of both parties to offer flexible working. For the employees, it means, as an example they can finish earlier during half term to look after their children, with greater work-life balance more achievable.
Being given time to undertake my Nutritional Therapy course is just one example of the benefits of Meeting Place’s flexible working policy. Similarly, my colleague Jacob Jefferson wrote an excellent blog about how flexible working allows him to continue his work with Arsenal Football Club’s Official LGBT Supporters Club.
Whilst it’s becoming increasingly expected, a fully flexible working policy is a gift. It makes for a dynamic workspace; we all have plenty to talk about in the office. It just takes striking up a conversation with any Meeting Place employee to see we all have rewarding and fulfilling lives outside of our jobs, and we have flexible working to thank for that.