Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My friend Ted and his excellent flexible adventure

I preach flexible work practices all the time. Only last week, I was delivering a flexible work masterclass to a group of small and medium sized businesses. Everyone was embracing it but the consistent stumbling block in the room was their executive management (not in the room!) not willing to change to accommodate for the future workforce.  This type of management reminds me of parents who don’t believe in homework but won’t come to a forum to express their views. It seems that every workplace has a reason not to do it rather than just getting on with it.

And then today, I heard such a wonderful story about a job share arrangement involving three old blokes! My friend’s father is Ted. He is retired. He was recently assisting his son-in-law who was doing a fit-out job for a successful catering / coffee business. Ted is very handy with tools. After a few weeks, Ted was over the physical nature of the job. The catering business owner, Simon, asked Ted if he would like to work in their business. If you met Ted, you would want him to work for you too. He is simply a great guy. Ted informed Simon that he wanted an ‘old person’s job’ – something where he could talk to people on the phone or do basic administration. Simon already had people doing that work so they left it at that.

A few weeks later, Simon calls Ted and asks him if he is interested in a delivery job that involves delivering catering orders around town. Ted was interested in this role but told Simon that he could only work on Thursday and Friday – he had to take into account his role as carer of his grandsons on one day and golf on the other two days.  Simon politely asked what he should do with Monday through Wednesday. Ted told Simon that he would talk to two of his golfing buddies and work out something. Sure enough, one of his mates does Monday and Tuesday, another does Wednesday, and Ted does Thursday and Friday. They get a great rate per hour, unlimited coffee and muffins, a fuelled van to transport the food, and an opportunity to talk to people all day. 

This job share arrangement has been working well for nearly 5 months now. They all travel abroad every 12 weeks so when one of them is travelling, the other two cover for the traveller.

Nothing is forever, but when you have some excellent candidates standing in front of you, seize the moment and see what opportunities come with it.

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