I had never really pondered that much about how I wanted my everyday life to be structured. That was until I started entering the last phase of a long life of education and school as the main responsibility to wake up to. Just two days before I had to defend my Master’s thesis, my girlfriend waved a positive pregnancy test before me – and then the thoughts about how the future looked were inevitable!
From the second I walked in the door here at Kongebakken for my first physical confrontation with the company and the employees, I felt how people are actually enjoying working here. I know how many companies try to advertise the fact that their company care about the wellbeing of employees, however in this instance you can actually feel it instantly as a newcomer.
I think one of the reasons may be due to the flexible working hours, which means that employees largely decide themselves as to what timeslots they want to work – within the boundaries of the core-working hours (09:00 – 15:00). Besides that William Demant is truly global, which means the cultural diversity is large – just look at the nationalities of us graduates. This paves the way for a strong diverse culture that thrives really well with the open plan office setting. On that note, the organisation is very flat – a huge advantage for us graduates, which allows our ideas and voices to be heard and taken seriously. This of course has the side effect that the direct contribution of each employee is rather visible for the people working around you – including your direct manager. To me this is a huge incentive to do good and work together towards a common goal. I believe that the flat organisation enables every single employee to give his or her best, and in reality empowers us to control our own development. If my theory is correct, then this explains a whole lot of the high morale that I observe all over the company.
Flexibility goes both ways. While the company allows us to manage our own time, people are expected – and willing – to be flexible. For instance in the beginning of December I was in the Netherlands for a week as part of a project, working nights for a full eight days. That is what is expected of you, however once I got back home my manager told me to take the Friday off to be with my family. It is that awareness of the employee’s wellbeing that permeates throughout the organisation. Furthermore, you would not hear any complaints if you were to extend your business trip over the weekend and ask your family to join you, so instead of travelling home Friday afternoon you book return tickets for Sunday.
These are just a few examples on the awareness of promoting a healthy work-life balance. Regular feedback and development talks are also conducted to ensure you are on the right track, and these private talks allow people to be open about their general well-being. Furthermore, did I mention that we are granted a 6th week of paid vacation, effective right after you start?
All the best,