Trust is key to making flexibility work at Car Next Door

Car Next Door
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Car Next Door is an innovative Australian business changing the way we use cars — so it makes sense that they’d hire innovatively too.

CEO Will Davies decided to try Beam as “a way to attract a higher quality candidate than using usual recruitment methods because we would be offering more flexible time commitments to a working parent.”

It worked! Melanie Cole is now Car Next Door’s HR Manager, working 3 days a week.

After starting a family, Mel says she felt “constantly torn between having a fulfilling work life and fitting in time to spend with my kids — ‘mum guilt!’” The flexibility of her role helps her to “balance both while my kids are still quite young.”

How do they make flexibility work at Car Next Door?

For Will, it all comes down to trust, rather than worrying about where someone works or for how many days. “If you find a great person who is naturally driven to succeed then you don’t need to motivate them or be watching over them.”

Also, he adds, having the right tools removes the need for everyone to be in the same place at once. “Zoom is amazing, Slack, email, etc.”

Boundaries and communication are vital, adds Mel. “I think the learning curve for me was making sure I wasn’t taking on too much. Being upfront and honest with my manager about timeframes for delivery and capacity definitely helped with this.”

Having a supportive and understanding manager like Will made this easier too, says Mel. “I also make a conscious effort to stay offline during my days off, resisting the urge to sneak onto my laptop or phone!”

Finally, and we love this, Mel says that when someone is working flexibly, it’s important for companies to set up expectations from the beginning with the employee and vice versa — this helps prevent both sides trying to fit 5 days worth of work into 3 or 4 working days. So important.

Keep assessing the role as it grows and develops, says Mel. This ensures the workload is “sustainable for both the employee and the business”. Win-win.