Being able to put work on the back burner and take some time off is a wonderful thing. In our previous article on workplace flexibility, we got to take a peek at what having a flexible job means to people who are passionate about their hobbies. At times, however, we are bound by long-term commitments, like family or studying. Flexibility is what makes the difference between taking it easy and constantly rushing to get things done—or even having to give up on something we enjoy.
We are proud to say that Applifting gives people enough freedom to organize their personal and work lives however they see fit. How does it then work for Applifters who are pursuing their education or raising children?
Jan Růžička, mobile developer and student at CTU
Workplace flexibility is what matters to me the most, right after the actual job. I got a part-time job at Applifting, but then there’s the full-time commitment to my studies. I’ve been making it work for over a year now, and I can confirm that a high degree of flexibility is key. I wouldn’t be able to do this without benefits like working from home, flexible working hours, and a supportive collective.
Working from home is great for when commuting takes up too much of your time—in my case a full hour—and you need to put every minute of the day into dealing with the ever-growing list of work and college duties. Flexible working hours is also an absolute must since you hardly get to dictate the deadlines as a student. And last but not least, being surrounded by understanding people who are willing to meet you halfway is the most important piece of the puzzle. Without it, juggling work and studies would be a short-lived undertaking. Missing either of these pieces in general means a bumpy road ahead.
I truly appreciate that I get to enjoy all three of these at Applifting. Let’s face it, I probably wouldn’t be working at Applifting anymore if it weren’t like that. It would just be impossible to study and work at the same time. Sometimes, I just need to go, “I’ll be off today,” or, “Sorry, I can’t make it to the meeting today, can we talk tomorrow?” I’ve also been faced with a situation where an exam or a deadline was knocking on the door, and I just had to completely shut out work for a couple of days in order to focus on schoolwork. It’s these moments in particular where flexibility is essential.
Being a working student is like leading a double life. Sadly, you don’t get twice as much time to keep up with everything and not stress out. Each day is still only twenty-four hours long, and you need to make the most of them. Without workplace flexibility, it just won’t do.
Adéla Hanzíková, Node.js developer and mom
I’ve been at Applifting for over five years now, and it’s exactly our culture and the freedom I get that I appreciate the most. My last job in PR was also very nice at first. It was only part-time, and I could freely organize my work days. But then in the summer, I took up a full-time position, which meant a typical nine-to-five schedule. I realized in just three months that this sort of limitation on my freedom is something I never want to experience again.
I’ve been on maternity leave for roughly a year now, and knowing that workplace flexibility was a natural thing for us made it a lot easier. I knew that once I felt like it, I could work out some sort of an arrangement and do a couple of hours per week, for example. It didn’t make me feel like I had to cut myself off from work life for three years—that it was all or nothing.
When my daughter was six months old, and her nap time left me with a few hours to spare each week, I started looking for something minor to do. I told everyone from the get-go that I didn’t know how I would manage in the end, and that maybe I was being naive, but I’d still like to give it a try. Everyone was extremely supportive in helping me find the middle ground. We found a project where I wouldn’t prevent someone from making progress in times when I was off, something where I wouldn’t have to freak out over deadlines.
That worked for a couple of weeks, but then my daughter’s sleeping patterns changed, and the precious time I had for work was gone. But I immediately told my amazing colleagues, and it wasn’t such a big deal. I also didn’t have to catch up on things at night—with a six-month-old baby, you only get so much sleep. At the present time, my full-time gig is enjoying all the joys and sorrows of parenthood. But I still know that when the time comes, I just need to reach out.
Lukáš Rychtecký, solution architect and dad
My take on workplace flexibility is that it’s about the ability to adapt and find the balance between work duties and personal life. Applifting is a dynamic and innovative company where we value flexibility, knowing full well that each of us has different needs and obligations. There is no predefined set of rules to follow here. Instead, we place importance on open communication between teams and individuals.
Even before Applifting, I got to experience a company setup where remote work was the standard. The responsibility that goes hand in hand with flexibility is therefore a natural part of my work life. I’m a father to two boys, and together with my wife, we do our best to balance out work with taking care of them.
Making it all fall into place was a matter of sitting down with our colleagues and establishing some basic rules about communication and availability. We understand that each of us has certain duties, and we support one another. For example, we do these short status updates over Slack because it’s much easier than getting five people together at the same time.
We try to avoid any conflicting overlaps with family life by planning out our meetings with regard to the availability of everyone involved. Google Calendar helps a lot with that, though you have to keep it updated at all times.
Applifting gives me the freedom to pick the most suitable time for work and keep my personal life organized. I can drive my oldest son to kindergarten, get back to the office, then take him to training in the afternoon, and still stay productive throughout the day.
For those of you dealing with a similar situation, I have several tips to share with you:
- Communicate — Talk to your team about your needs and obligations. Trust me, people will meet you halfway in most cases.
- Plan things out — Make it so that your day allows for both work and personal responsibilities. Put together a time plan that accommodates both you and your duties.
- Make use of technology — A shared calendar and instant messaging apps will make it easier for you and your team to keep track of things.
- Give and ask for respect — Take your colleagues’ needs into account as much as you expect them to do the same.
Keeping your feet on the ground
As you can see, workplace flexibility doesn’t always mean leaving the country to explore the far reaches of exotic lands. Some of us just simply need to keep our heads on our shoulders when dealing with everyday obligations that mercilessly tug at our precious time—whether that be family or studies.
We hope we inspired, encouraged, or at least put you at ease by showing you that there are in fact ways to stay on top of things. It just takes a little bit of effort, the right company, and colleagues who have your back.