But flexible working isn’t new to Freestyle.
The foundations were set back in 1996 when Freestyle was born. Our founders Suzanne Linton (Business Woman of the Year 2022) and Alan Cooper set out to create a business where people could thrive, learn and develop. When asked Suzanne said “this is in part about having a model/type of a business that you’d want your own kids to work and grow in, a fair and ethical business that gives people the chance to stretch and develop whilst balancing work and life - having a positive experience where the job feels as good when you leave as it did when you started. Flexible working is just one piece of that puzzle.’
We’ve never wanted our people to worry about screeching through the door at 8.30am after a long commute, it’s not conducive to long term mental health and eventually would lead to burnout. Offering a flexible workplace based on trust and autonomy ultimately enables people to thrive at work and at home, when people are thriving they tend to be happier, and studies have shown that not only does a happier workforce mean better morale but higher productivity too.
At Freestyle, we also understand that not only does ‘life’ happen, but that sometimes, creativity, ideas and our best thinking doesn’t always happen sitting at a desk in an office. By offering a flexible approach to when and where people work, our clients benefit from more creativity as a whole from creative thinking and problem solving to more innovative solutions and output.
We also recognise that we all have different learning and communication styles, which means that we are all productive at different times and in different ways and places, flexible working helps to ensure that our people get to embrace their individual styles and strengths, and find a genuine balance between work and home life.
In order to take care of our people’s overall wellbeing and facilitate them doing their best work, whilst also maintaining a sense of community and belonging and providing social interaction, we operate a 4:1 home to office ratio (although the office is accessible and open 5 days week and people can chose to work in the office as much as they want). We find the office is usually well occupied 3-4 days a week, and that people enjoy coming in to collaborate, catch up and get some valuable ‘in real life’ face to face time.
The day in which they choose to be in the office is also entirely down to them, because that fully embraces flexibility. We have an internally built booking app where our team can mark when they’ll be in, this gives the team visibility on who is in and when so that they can make plans for meetings, collaboration sessions…or just organise a team lunch and a catch up.
Our app also enables the team to book their dog in (we’re dog friendly!) to ensure that only dogs who get along are in at the same time…and to ensure that we don’t get overrun with furry friends!
Our focus on flexibility is as much about delivering outstanding work for our clients as it is about our team's wellbeing, and the two go hand in hand. A happy, healthy team is a more productive and engaged team. As a general rule we have core working hours which are between 10am - 4pm (which is when the majority of our clients are ‘on’). The team knows that they can flex this as they need to, from school runs and parent evenings to doctors appointments, vets visits and DIY disasters… real life happens. We also want to encourage people to get outdoors, enjoy daylight and make time for their hobbies, interests and overall well being. We encourage people to embrace our flexible approach to get that morning run in or relax during that longer yoga flow.
More recently we’ve launched 9 day fortnights (aka 9DF’s) which we’re trialling from June through to September during the summer months. This gives our team even more flexibility to pursue what makes them happy outside of work, and make the most of the longer days. We’ve been inspired by the studies and reports around 4 day weeks, and we’re looking forward to exploring the positive impact that this new working pattern will have for our people and our clients.
If you’re thinking about how to incorporate more flexibility into your business, or you're interested to know more about the work that we deliver and how our flexible approach supports our people in delivering awesome results for our clients, get in touch.