Stuffy, formal workplaces are fast becoming a thing of the past in South Africa, as global trends lean towards the many benefits of a work/life balance.
The second one is probably a long way off, but we live in hope.
In recent news, Investec will become the first SA company to follow the lead of international brands including Virgin and General Electric, which have a flexible leave policy for their workers, reports BusinessLIVE.
Investec will reward all employees in SA who choose to migrate to the unlimited leave system according to their output and not how many days they show up at work. Also, staff, except for receptionists whose days are more structured and receive a clothing allowance to keep up the formal look, will now be able to show up in shorts and T-shirts, depending on who they are meeting during the day.
Chilled workwear and unlimited paid leave have contributed to Google and Amazon landing the top spot on the list of companies that young, talented people want to work for.
Clearly, Investec wants a piece of that action.
“Surprisingly, there are clients we see who don’t want us in suits. Equally with suppliers, our suppliers are often in shorts and T-shirts and engaging with them like that is important,” says Lesley-Anne Gatter, head of human resources at Investec SA.
She says there will be no rules on what people can and cannot wear. The only rule is that employees must dress for their day. If they are a banker and going to see a client who prefers informal engagement, they can dress for the occasion. But if they are seeing a more conservative client, they should adjust accordingly.
The dress-for-your-day policy is something that a lot of companies have adopted.
(I’ve been known to rock sneakers and a hoodie here at 2OV, but we’ve always been ahead of the game when it comes to living the holiday).
Which brings us to that glorious flexible leave policy.
…the most progressive change is the flexible leave policy which companies like Virgin have spearheaded and reaped benefits from since its implementation years ago. In April, Richard Branson wrote a blog post about a group legal director who worked diligently and achieved more from working wherever they were, instead of just the office.
Gatter says in Investec’s case, the core principle is that people will be paid according to their output and not how many days they clocked at work. The number of leave days they take will not affect their salaries. The idea is to push even harder for high performance as people will have an incentive to finish their tasks quicker. But, above that, high bonuses will be paid for innovation and initiating things, as opposed to just completing tasks.
In other words, meet your targets, bring that innovation, and you could end up with a year’s paid leave.
“Part of this new leave philosophy is not just about leave days but also flexibility. Instead of people taking half-day leave to attend their kids’ sport event, we are saying, take the day to be fully present where you are. Work from there if you want but you don’t have to be on top of your e-mails if that doesn’t work for you at that moment.”
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