A pro with children, an urbanite with an eye for culture, a student wanting to spend a year abroad, someone enjoying the country life and making the long commute... Our employees are at very different places in their lives, but everyone needs flexible hours every now and then. This time, we will take a peek at the flextime options and flexible work arrangements offered to MORE employees.
Reconciling family and work commitments is key
Many of us at Etteplan MORE have children, and many are at the age where they might soon need parental leave. For families with children, flexible work hours are a must and, luckily, people are not afraid to ask for them. “We believe that being able to reconcile family and work commitments is essential, which is why we want to support this,” says HR Manager Hanna Kouri, and continues: “Showing flexibility towards our employees has proven to be a good way of achieving this.” For example, employees have been able to combine their summer vacations with several-month paternity leave periods, as long as they have made the request sufficiently early.
One of our employees is a mother of two, and has found telecommuting to be a real boon, as it provides “lots of flexibility and possibilities when running a family with small children.” There are days when she works remotely for a short while in the morning, then takes a break and helps to get her children ready for daycare. After this, she continues her work day either in one of our offices in Tampere, Finland, or at home through a remote connection. “Working remotely is not a problem because we have the right tools for the job and my team can keep in touch using a variety of communications channels.”
Flexibility and understanding for everyday life
Being able to telecommute is a great benefit for those who live further away from the city centre. Additionally, even those in demanding positions don’t need to be present at the workplace every day. Employees who have wished to work shorter weeks for a while have been able to do so, while others have used some of their summer vacation days in winter.
According to Kouri, employees can always turn to their supervisors when their working life needs to take a back seat for a while. For example, many of those who are on the final leg of their studies need some flexibility from their employer, as otherwise they would not be able to continue working before graduation. MORE is well aware of this, and provides students with great flexibility in adjusting their work schedule based on their studies. Another big factor is location and, for example, both of our offices in Tampere are right next to the university campus. According to a final-year student who works in our Tampere Tulli office, “the office is right next to the university, which makes it very easy to combine work and studies. If I work in the morning, I can attend a seminar in the afternoon, and making the switch is very simple.”
Things can always be worked out
In software companies, there are very few jobs that actually require working in an office from 9 to 5. Offering flexible hours is usually quite simple, but there are projects where rescheduling is a challenge. That said, we will always try our best to ensure that our employees get the time off they need. “Of course, the earlier we know about the need, the better we can make the necessary arrangements. In any case, I haven’t heard about a case where an employee didn’t, for example, get a longer period off when needed,” Kouri says.
Flexible working arrangements can provide opportunities even for those who are not directly involved. For example, when one of our project managers took a long family leave, we had the opportunity to offer the post temporarily to another employee who has great growth potential and interest in developing their career. “It is only natural that the bigger the employee’s responsibility, the harder it is to find a substitute. But as long as the request is made well beforehand, we can always make the necessary arrangements,” Kouri says.
Working remotely from Italy
Being able to work anywhere without a rigid schedule can prove to be an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. One of the people who have used this opportunity is our marketing assistant Jenni Ilmola, who, thanks to flexible work arrangements, is currently studying in Rome, Italy.
“I had been dreaming of studying abroad throughout most of my studies, but there weren’t any opportunities for students who had a job,” Ilmola says. “During my last year, I started to really think that I will soon miss out on the opportunity to study abroad, unless I do something about it. I was really interested in taking an academic year abroad, but then again, I had found a really interesting job at Etteplan MORE, which provided a relaxed work community, and I was planning on starting my thesis on the digital marketing metrics used at Etteplan MORE soon.”
“We agreed that I would work on the tasks associated with my thesis remotely from Rome for a few hours a week and that the rest of my tasks would be handled by Anni, a newly hired marketing assistant. Come fall, I would be welcome to return to the Tampere office and could continue as part of the Etteplan MORE marketing team.”
“Since I started here in Italy, I’ve been able to travel and improve both my English and Italian. I’ve also gotten a first-hand experience of the more relaxed Southern-European attitude, which is a welcome change from the performance-oriented culture in the Nordics. Even working here, in a culture with a vivid sense of Carpe Diem, feels different, with me enjoying a gelato or having a cup of espresso while working.”
“Thus far, being able to live in Rome has been one of the best experiences of my life, which is why I’m really grateful that Etteplan MORE has such a flexible attitude towards its employees’ life situations and wishes. When a company shows such flexibility towards its staff, it is very likely that its employees will respond in kind.”
We are a family-friendly workplace, and we encourage our employees to take their parental leave. Etteplan MORE was also the first company to take on the Dad Challenge, an initiative to promote a healthy work/family balance for fathers: www.isahaaste.fi
We are committed to the Meillä Valmistut initiative, a campaign by the Tampere Chamber of Commerce for supporting graduation among students with jobs. Read more about local companies’ commitment to the initiative here and visit the campaign website to read how Janne managed to combine his studies with his job and completed his M.Sc. (Tech.) dissertation (both in Finnish only). Read about our career opportunities for students.