Plantronics, Commended 2013, The RBS Best for Flexible Working Award
Location: Royal Wootton Bassett
Employees: 120 UK based, 3,500 worldwide
Plantronics is a medium-sized company specialising in the technology sector. They have developed what they call an ‘ultimate’ approach to flexibility which allows complete flexibility about how, where and when work is done. Even if they are in the office, there are a number of different spaces employees can choose to work from depending on what tasks they are working on. Employees decide which pattern best suits their need and preferences, and can flex their days as they want. For example, they can go to the (subsidised) gym in the middle of the day, attend appointments or simply go for a walk if they want.
They have seen that employees who are parents have especially benefited. Working mothers and fathers are able to choose to continue to work full-time without having to reduce their hours to find the flexibility they need. Seniority and career progression are also completely compatible with flexible working methods. Flexibility at Plantronics is an effective tool to support engagement and well-being. It is not simply about different formal working contracts – it is an approach to work, an attitude that brings responsibility and accountability for the employee to deliver results but with choice over where, when and how they work within an environment that trusts them to do so.
Trust is a key concept. As Paul Clark, VP – General Manager, North Western Europe & Sub-Saharan Africa at Plantronics says, ‘We truly believe in a work environment based on trust. Our managers put complete faith in our employees to both help meet the company’s objectives and work towards their own career goals at Plantronics. We provide our employees with regular performance reviews so that that whether they’re working in the office, from home, or on the road, they always know what’s expected of them. This foundation of trust has shaped our productive work culture, and has helped us grow an exceptionally satisfied and engaged work force.’
Although Plantronics falls into the category of a small to medium sized business, their success and innovative approach means that other, much larger, companies are studying what they have done to see if they can introduce similar ways of working themselves.