Undoubtedly, COVID19 has changed the lives of all Australians over the last two years; and whilst many of these changes have come with loss and challenges, there have been some small wins for some. Like working parents who find themselves with more time to spend with family than ever before after regaining hours previously lost commuting to and from the office. Or those working from home able to enjoy lunchtime walks away from the desk under the sun. In an attempt to turn lemons into lemonade, Melbourne-based property development company, ICD Property, has introduced ‘9 Day Fortnight’ and ‘Work from Anywhere’ policies, permeating the positive benefits of a more flexible work environment brought on by COVID19 lockdowns.
ICD Property’s ‘9 Day Fortnight’ policy allows staff to take off work every second Friday without absorbing annual or personal leave and no salary sacrifice. The new policy seeks to incentivise staff to work more efficiently and productively, rewarding them with regular three-day weekends and better work-life balance. Ultimately adding 26 new annual leave days per calendar year. For those with an added workload any particular fortnight, the second Friday is still a welcomed treat inviting a full day of uninterrupted, no-meetings, focus time; in hopes they can get ahead of work and enjoy the next fortnightly Friday off.
During the policy’s trial period, over two thirds of ICD’s employees took some or all the second Friday as leave. With employees who didn’t take the second Friday off still reporting they significantly benefited from having a quiet workday to streamline tasks that were otherwise often interrupted during a regular work week. Regardless of whether the day was taken off partially, in full, or not at all – companywide data proved the initiative was warmly welcomed and greatly aided all staff’s ability to meet the ever-growing challenges of a modern work-life balance.
ICD Property’s new ‘Work from Anywhere’ policy similarly creates improved work-life flexibility by allowing staff to work from anywhere in the world for a six-month period every twelve months. Whether it’s working from a holiday house, family home, or overseas – all ideas are welcomed. Upon applying for the program, staff go through an approval process with their direct manager and the company’s HR department to determine logistics such as crossover work hours (if working from another time zone), accountabilities, and expectations. The policy has already been executed successfully with several staff able to work overseas and interstate for months at a time.
“In our developments we are always looking to introduce something new, innovative, and better than what’s been done before. And we try to apply the same philosophy to every level of the business. During the lockdowns of the last two years, we were forced to find ways to work collaboratively, efficiently, and effectively from afar. We quickly realised these systems and tools we have been using to work from home apart from one another could easily be used anywhere in the world and could greatly assist our team in balancing their work-life commitments,” said Hayley Randall, ICD Property’s People Development Manager.
Since introducing the two new policies, ICD Property has seen tangible improvements to productivity and staff engagement. Measured and tracked through various data all showing overall improvement on staff outputs.
In a climate where hiring and retaining the best staff is growing increasingly competitive, especially amongst 2022’s brand as the year of ‘The Great Resignation’, ICD Property’s forward-thinking ‘9 Day Fortnight’ and ‘Work from Anywhere’ policies are yet another added bonus of working with the company. On top of their ‘Pawternity Leave’ introduced in 2019 which gives staff an added four days of annual leave each year to care for new, injured, or sick pets.
“In all our property developments we are constantly pushing the envelope, aiming for higher design outcomes, creating efficiencies through innovative prop-tech – and there’s absolutely no reason we can’t do the same at a business level. The last two years have been a serious wakeup call for everyone to assess what they value. People are realising they want to spend more time with friends and family, have a better work-life balance, and I believe all businesses in the coming years need to adapt to these changing needs,” said the company’s Managing Director, Matt Khoo.
Renowned for developing iconic Australian sites Aspire Melbourne, the City Tattersalls Club redevelopment, and most recently Market Square – a $400m upgrade to Adelaide’s 150-year-old Central Market Arcade in partnership with the City of Adelaide – ICD Property prides itself on being a pioneering developer and business. Their most recent success being the welcoming of modern-day policies to respond to contemporary challenges of work-life balance, inspired in the wake of COVID19.
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