Flexibility and Accountability: How to Have it Both Ways

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By Katie Torres

One thing that Envoy strives for the most is creating a flexible work environment for our team.

We want to be a place where people love to work. We believe that fun is an essential piece to creating a successful team, and that our employees should have the liberty to work in ways that are most effective for them. 

How do you create a place that offers this kind of freedom, while also maintaining accountability to uphold standards and expectations?

At Envoy, we do this in a many ways:

1. We assign jobs to employees according to individual strengths and skill sets.

A lot of people who have joined our team have not come from a facilities maintenance background. So for many of us, this presents an initial learning curve.

While it is important to learn the ins and outs of facilities maintenance, it is also crucial that we have the right people working in the right positions.

Assigning jobs to the people who possess the skill sets to do those jobs, ensures that the job will be done well, and also gives individuals the joy of doing something they're great at. And when you're great at what you do, you tend to want to do more of it.

2. We expect our team to keep learning, and even pay them to do it.

When you make self-education a priority, you find that doors of opportunity begin to open. 

At Envoy, we participate in LinkedIn Learning, which is a paid service offered through LinkedIn. And not only does our company pay for this service for the team, we also pay our employees for the time they spend on the courses.

These courses are exciting for us. We take courses that are recommended by our supervisors, and also are allowed to spend time every week learning about whatever we want to, all well getting paid to do it.

We have the freedom to learn about what excites us, so we have fun. And because we're learning, we are growing, and using these new strengths within our jobs. It's a win-win situation.

3. We talk about our values, and we do it often.

A company cannot be successful without having some core values to focus on. Values are what give people the inspiration to keep working toward common goals; you engage in the things you value most.

As a team, we highlight each other weekly for exhibiting these values. And those who live out these values at work, are rewarded with fun prizes and some positive words from their team. 

Enforcing these values is both extremely rewarding for our employees, and also beneficial to the success of the company.

4. We create clear expectations for what needs to be done, and give deadlines. 

We have meetings to discuss what needs to be done, and assign jobs to individuals on our team. When assigning these jobs, we also give deadlines for when tasks need to be completed.

The meetings allow us to figure out whose strengths would be most in line with the task at hand, so we are able to practice the point mentioned above. And the deadlines provide the accountability needed to make sure jobs are completed in a timely manner.

When deadlines are missed, we do also enforce consequences. Our consequences are always aimed at helping the individual learn and grow. We don't really have such a thing as being "in trouble" at Envoy. Just a system for making things better, and expectations to make that happen.

5. We allow our team to work from home, but also make our office a place where people want to come in for work.

A couple of us work primarily from home, which is great when you have children and no daycare. Others of us work primarily in the office, but are also allowed the freedom to work from home if we need to.

The key to making this a success is two-fold; first, keeping open and frequent communication. And second, is making sure that tasks are still completed. The expectations and deadlines mentioned above help to do this. And when we keep open lines of communication, we maintain the relational aspect of working as a team.

It is an extremely huge blessing to work for a company who allows this, and it's part of why we enjoy coming to work every day, no matter where we're working from.

It is possible to create a flexible work environment, while also upholding accountability. Envoy is proof of this.