This year, we were certified once again as a Great Place To Work (named in the top 20 small businesses) by the organisation of the same name who identify and champion companies building great cultures.
According to a poll by EY, more than half (54%) of employees around the world would consider leaving their job if they were not offered some form of flexibility in where and when they work.
Why is this important?
The negative effects of the pandemic across the world cannot be underestimated. They will have a ripple effect for years to come. In some industries, many great and capable people lost jobs. Now, industries like hospitality are still finding it difficult to replace those people, because life and expectations have changed so much. With inflation and the cost of living at an all time high, there is a lot of issues our governments need to address and try to remedy. In the midst of all this, we also had International Women's Day this week, as discussions were had about the fact that Ireland is set to hold a referendum in November to remove the 'women in the home' reference in the Constitution.
While so much progress has been made in relation to women in the workplace (the Employment Equality Act upheld gender equality in employment 25 years ago), there's no doubt about how far we have still to go. In fact, over 1 in 3 people claim women earn less than men in their workplace and over half (58%) of women think that they have less career opportunities than men. This is down to a variety of things - the gender pay gap, the higher number of women working in so called 'feminine' roles, and also the fact that the cost of childcare actually forces some couples to live on one salary, with predominantly mothers staying home.
It is therefore so important that companies do their bit in helping to support women with their daily lives - and their work ambitions.
Professor Viviane de Beaufort of the ESSEC Business School has investigated why some women tend to decline promotions, and what companies can offer to make their work more attractive to women in particular. “Who’s to say that being able to adapt working hours around other commitments – whether it be family or even health related – might not have allowed many of the women, who turned down a promotion for a different life goal, the flexibility to manage both? This is not a reduction in working hours, nor a decrease in responsibility, but rather the power to acclimatise the workload to the reality of their everyday."
At Net Affinity, we are proud of our dedication to the comfort of our female employees (who make up 66% of our workforce) and we make a constant and noted effort to accommodate their busy lives.
"I will always be appreciative of Net Affinity's flexibility. As a working mother with young children, they enable me to balance my busy family life while focusing my energies on growing and thriving in my career. I am also very proud be part of a diverse team at Net Affinity, with colleagues representing over 15 nationalities and with a team that is 66% female." - Hollie McHugh, Marketing Director
The wellbeing of all our employees is also something we take very seriously - and not at a scratch-the-surface level.
One of the key trends across sectors now is an increased focus on the health and well-being of the workforce.
Since becoming a remote-first company, we have learnt that trust is one of the most important components of the relationship between staff and managers. When there is trust, there is openness, an understanding that there will be no judgement should an employee be going through something personal whether it be a sickness or some other challenge. We have implemented an app within the company that offers access to counselling, should anyone need it. As well as this, it offers access to rich banks of content on healthy eating and exercise - and it encourages us all to get moving with the ability to set up walking challenges, one of which we are currently doing to raise money for victims of the Turkish and Syrian earthquakes, a cause close to our hearts as we wish to support three of our Turkish employees.
We strive to be flexible and we know having an open mind is the way forward. That's why it's not just the traditional type of flexibility we offer for parents only.
"I have decided to undertake a part-time PhD, which Net Affinity have fully supported by allowing me to reduce my hours and work part-time. They helped make the process a very positive experience and it is nice knowing I am supported in this new endeavour." - Jordan Lillis, Content Marketing Manager.
In everything we do at Net Affinity, we strive to nurture a truly empathetic culture – one that mirrors our values as people who want to provide a supportive environment to flourish in. Empathy trickles into our decision-making and people management strategies across the board, and we believe this equips our staff to be the best they can be and provide clients with a great service.
Over the last 23 years, we have always felt that staff are the heart of our business. Being a certified Great Place to Work is an achievement we are so proud of because it affirms our values and motivates us to continue holding ourselves accountable in relation to providing a really comfortable, enjoyable and flexible working environment for our employees.