Outstanding flexible working arrangements and supportive wellbeing practices have earned two Australian SMEs top spots on the 2021 Best Places to Work list.
Ranked by behavioural science consultancy Inventium, the Australian Financial Review’s BOSS Best Places to Work list saw Aussie software developer SixPivot take out spot number two, only one place behind employment marketplace giant SEEK.
Founded in 2015, SixPivot designs software for businesses of all sizes, and during the pandemic it implemented a radical remote working policy that allowed its 28 staff to work from anywhere.
Speaking to SmartCompany, founder and chief executive Faith Rees says flexible working conditions started with the premise that “people should work from where they work best”.
“It’s about true flexibility around where you work and how you work, designed around a high level of trust,” Rees says.
In practice, this means that SixPivot’s team could work from any functional space, be it at home, in a cafe or on the road in a campervan.
Rees says one of her team members even worked while on an overseas trip to Mexico. He wanted to attend a wedding without using all of his annual leave, and Rees encouraged him to do so.
“He was doing Zoom calls in a tent in a tree in the middle of Mexico,” she says.
Despite pandemic restrictions easing, Rees has no intention to stop pushing the boundaries of remote working arrangements.
She has plans to travel around Australia in a caravan and run the company remotely, and she also wants to offer her team the opportunity to work from overseas for short periods of time once international travel resumes.
On top of encouraging staff to work away from the home or office, SixPivot ranked number two for best places to work because of the way it fosters a culture of engagement and collaboration.
“We have a very learning, collaborative culture as well, and I guess a lot of our productivity and efficiency come from that,” she says.
SixPivot uses Slack channels for all kinds of communication from solving coding problems to sharing fun images of pets and family.
Rees says keeping those channels thriving is a great way to monitor the health and wellbeing of a team.
“If we can see that they are not interacting, or the way they’re communicating changed, it can give us a trigger to check in with them more than we normally would,” she says.
For Aussie muesli brand Carman’s Kitchen, which won Most Outstanding Practice — Employee Wellbeing at the Best Places to Work awards, prioritising wellbeing leads to better productivity outcomes.
Founder and chief executive Carolyn Creswell says over the last several years she has been “really conscious” of building wellbeing into “the fabric of the business”.
Carman’s Kitchen’s head office boasts a yoga studio, gym, sauna and a sleep pod, which Creswell says was developed by NASA.
“It’s one thing just to have them. But we’ve made it part of the culture for people to feel comfortable to utilise all of the different services,” she says.
And the outcome of encouraging good wellbeing practices in the workplace is clear, Creswell says.
“If people feel refreshed, they’re going to give more to their work, and they’re going to have more discretionary effort overall for the company.”