Salary Survey 2013: Flexible working

Letting employees take control of when they work looks set to be one of this year’s big trends. Top marketers give their opinion on why this is becoming increasingly important.

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If employers are reluctant to increase salaries, they need to look at alternative ways of keeping marketers happy – flexible working, for example, for which there is a strong demand. Nearly 75 per cent say flexible working is either important or very important to them, although only 14 per cent say being able to work more flexibly would be the main reason for changing jobs.

So far, only 62 per cent of companies have adopted flexible working and of those employers yet to offer it, 56 per cent are unlikely to do so over the next 12 months. But for PepsiCo European marketing director Lee Sargent, flexible working is crucial.

“It is a rising trend in marketing and you need to have an adult relationship with your staff – which means trusting them and giving them more control over how they deliver what you want them to.”

But there is a mixed picture regarding the kind of flexible working practices that are on offer. Just 36 per cent of employers that let staff ‘work flexibly’ allow part-time working and only 14 per cent provide career breaks, despite 41 per cent of marketers saying these are important or very important to them.

Citi’s departing global consumer chief marketing and internet officer, Michelle Peluso, says her priorities as a mother are critical to her. She works a four-day week and her high-powered job means that her regime is strict – she leaves the office at 5pm to spend three hours with her family. “I’m offline entirely during that period. If someone has a question they can call the home line but they know not to email me because I won’t see it,” she says.

Peluso spends 8pm to 11pm on calls around the world, mainly to Asia because of the time difference between there and her US location.

She also has rules about emailing, so that it does not distract from the job at hand. “During the day, I do almost no emailing. I have a policy where I say I’ll get back to you within 24 hours, so night-time is often spent trying to catch up.”

The number of companies allowing staff to work from home has fallen from 80 per cent in 2002 to 71 per cent this year, which is difficult to explain considering the move to more remote working fuelled by new technology such as smartphones and tablets. Also, one third of companies have implemented a hot desk policy, which encourages remote working as well as reducing central office costs.

Vodafone UK enterprise marketing director Peter Boucher says increasing flexible working is an inexpensive and easy way of boosting morale, job satisfaction and retention levels.

“Our research shows that access to flexible working options and an improved work-life balance are among the most important drivers of employee satisfaction today,” he says.

“One way to do this is to introduce new processes and technology that create these better ways of working and enable employees to work from wherever they need to be.”

Boucher adds that younger marketers have a different view of the workplace and many organisations are offering graduates tablet devices to attract the best talent. Around one-fifth of Vodafone’s 5,900 head office staff, including marketers, work remotely and productivity levels have improved by up to 20 per cent, he claims.


Why brands must offer flexibility

lee sargent

Lee Sargent
European marketing director, enjoyment brands at PepsiCo

Flexible working is a rising trend in marketing and you need to have an adult relationship with your staff, which means trusting them and giving them more control over how they deliver what you want them to.

The complexity of the job these days means most marketers are content curators and editors so there has to be more collaboration and stimulus, which does not come from sitting behind a desk five days a week.

We offer location and hour flexibility at our sites so people can come in late or early and leave at different times. We have launched two flexible desk locations in London that have PepsiCo facilities with our artwork on the wall and our products in the fridge. All the equipment people need to work effectively is there and staff can book a desk online.


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