Dylan Smith

Table stakes

Today I asked designers at London tech companies: Does your company offer flexible working hours?

32 of 36 respondents — 89% — said yes. Arrangements vary.

Screenshot of Slack survey responses

On the extreme end of the spectrum, people are allowed to work whenever and wherever they want. Some are fully remote and asynchronous. Some have no minimum working hours as long as assignments are complete. One person is even required to work from home at least one day a week due to office capacity.

On the strict end, people have to be in the office during ‘core working hours’ — 10–4 is popular, others are more loose. That gives them the freedom to come in earlier at 8am and leave an hour early, or come in later at 10am and stay a bit later. Also on this end, people are allowed a reasonable amount of work from home days, either based on requests or the honour system.

Somewhere in the middle, people take advantage of flexible hours and work from home privileges without any sort of approval as long as they communicate with their teams.

Only four respondents, myself included, have strict office hours. (My employer has a limited work from home policy, requiring strong justification like an appointment.) One person commented that they were taking note of which companies we work for so they can make sure they don’t take jobs there.

The 9/10 companies offering at least some freedom are making the holdouts look old-fashioned and unappealing in comparison. Have flexible working arrangements become table stakes for startups?

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