Positive leadership: Flexibility vs Freedom  

| February 25, 2022

There’s so much talk about flexibility in the workplace but what about freedom? Tina Melbourne explains the workplace freedom policy implemented by external legal, HR and CFO service, Source.

Is working from home, or adjusting your start and end time 30mins back and forth really flexible when there is still the expectation of ‘presenteeism’ for certain hours of the day?

The last year at Source has demonstrated to me the difference between flexibility and freedom – we are truly ‘free’ at Source and completely trusted to perform our roles as, and when we choose.  There’s no measure of hours in anything we do, we don’t believe in it and rather our entire business model is around client delivery and being available when our clients need.

For me, I work the oddest hours and could not possibly work the full time workload I do without the freedom afforded to me. I manage this whilst having my youngest 1 day / week and picking my oldest up from school. I run around to appointments and sports. I go to the gym at 9am or 4pm and sometimes I decide I don’t feel like working, or need a break, so I hit the day spa or meet a friend for lunch.

I am always available and always deliver – if that means working at night over a glass of vino or on a Sunday then I do, that’s my choice. In the last 6 months I have worked in planes, trains and on the road (not whilst driving) as well as at the pool, the park, the carwash, at gymnastics and whilst overseeing 2 kids making worm farms’ beside a lake.

I don’t ask my team where they are or what time they work, rather how happy are their clients. There’s no measure of presenteeism just happy customers. If you want to work standard business hours then switch off – great. If that doesn’t suit you, or the week you’re having, it’s your choice to change. I see posts celebrating not having to ask for time off to go to the doctors, this seems outdated to me.

This won’t work in every role or industry and it involves trust so, take more time in hiring the right people for your business and give them the space to do their roles. Some may take advantage but the benefits outweigh – the worst indicator to my team is if they have to be ‘managed’, this generally means something is wrong.

Sure, some people want to go into the office or work set hours to switch on and off (we have that choice too) but what about the times you aren’t busy – can you knock off early? Maybe, however there is more likely the expectation that you will work more during busy times and then still maintain the status quo for the other time.

Yes – I barely stop and that suits me. It’s work life integration and true passion for what you do and I wouldn’t have it any other way!


How does your business foster positive leadership?

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