Flexible Working at Herringbone Kitchens
Herringbone Kitchens are a bespoke, sustainable furniture and design company – with a flexible working policy! As soon as we heard about what they were doing, we pounced on them and asked them to talk to us about what they are doing and how they do it. They explained that flexible working doesn’t always mean working from home or around little ones and told us how they have made it work for their business. We love them!
Here, at Herringbone Kitchens, our vision for the business includes everyone in the team having a good work-life balance. Previously, we’ve been told flexible working is only for those who work in an office and that it was not possible in the manufacturing or retail industry – but why not?
There are some obvious barriers, for example we cannot make a kitchen from our back shed at home, you need to be in the workshop with colleagues and retail is done face-to-face with clients. But flexible working does not just mean working from home and we were determined to find a way to make it work.
Championing flexible working in manufacturing and retail
To be honest, we couldn’t find any examples of other manufacturing companies in the UK offering flexible working, so we had to make our own rules and roll it out to our team. After lots of planning, we launched a flexible working policy for the team in September this year and although it is far from perfect, we are incredibly proud to be pioneering this in our industry, which is dominated by traditional companies that don’t often like to shake things up.
How we do it
Our policy offers our team the opportunity to work hours that suit them, their families and their lifestyles the most. By starting earlier, later, having longer lunches or condensing their hours, they are able to work around hobbies, the school run, taking on a new skill or having a long weekend. We strongly believe that flexible working is not just for parents (although it can help with managing childcare), but for everyone.
So far 1/4 the team have decided to work condensed days, and we couldn’t be prouder of what they are achieving.
Why we do it
We hope that bringing in flexible working (as well as strong parental leave and other policies), helps bridge the age gap in the industry (most traders are 40+ with little opportunity for the younger generation) and makes the area more appealing as a career choice. One that celebrates and values creativity, craftsmanship and problem solving.
It’s a learning curve, but if our little family business can find a way to do it, it’s possible for any business.
If you’re another small business and want to share any tips or are interested in how we put together our policy – please get in touch!
We are so happy to share our experience and learn and shake up this industry together.
Elly and William