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What Flexible Working Looks Like at Cobloom

By Emily Smith on Mon, Aug 8, 2016

When I interviewed to join Cobloom, flexible working was one of the perks listed in the job description. But it’s a very subjective benefit: what one company considers flexible, another will view as rigidly prescriptive. I wanted to know: how did it work here on a day-to-day basis?

So today I’m sharing what flexible working looks like at Cobloom.

Working Hours

What time do you start work in the morning?

At Cobloom, there’s no fixed start/end times. We do a whole day’s work, but we work on the basis that as long as the work gets done, it doesn’t really matter what time you show up.

As a result, we’ve all developed our personal preferences which mean we start and finish at different times. For example, I prefer to come in early and start just after 8am, because I commute from furthest away and try to miss the worst of the traffic. In contrast, Will gets into the office later (typically 10 - 11am), and stays a lot later. That said, we do make sure that for the majority of the day we’re all in the office together.

We’re all different, so we all adjust our work days to fit our own schedules, to maximise our productivity so we can make the most of the time we are in the office.

Holiday and Personal Leave

Our approach to holiday is very similar to our approach to working hours: as long as your work’s getting done, and you’re pulling your weight for the team, we’re not going to be strict about how many days holiday anyone’s taking. But we do encourage all of the team to take time off, whether it’s for travel or just to recharge.

In many companies, personal leave isn’t normally something that gets discussed until it’s actually needed – and that was the case here, too. When it comes to taking time off, we borrow Hubspot’s guiding tenet: Use Good Judgement.

Home Working

As our team grows, we’ve come to realise just how important it is for us to spend time working together – physically sharing the same workspace.

We want to make sure that everyone feels like ‘part of the team’, and has the opportunity to be involved in important decisions and conversations. If someone worked from home that majority of the time, they would be less able to do that, and be much more detached from the rest of the team. As such, we’re all in the office most days.

However, we do still work from home every now and then, to fit in with other life demands. As a general rule we work it out as we go (and use good judgement here, too). For example, I travel furthest to get to the office, so if 50% of the team (not including myself) is going to be out of the office one day, I’ll sometimes work from home if I’ve got no meetings in my calendar. It gives me back a heap of time in my day and saves my energy for my work.

What Works Best for You?

The flexibility of working at Cobloom was the biggest change from my previous job, and it took me a while (a couple of months!) to get used to. If you’ve experienced transitioning from a traditional to a more flexible workplace (or the other way around), I’d love to hear from you.

Have you worked somewhere with similarly flexible work arrangements before? What aspects were most important to you, and was there anything you particularly liked or disliked about it?

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