July 20, 2024

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Designing done right

Dow employees enjoying new workplace flexibility

7 min read

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Like quite a few people today all-around the globe, Aaron Metz noticed his own life and function lifestyle intersect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and an extended momentary shift to functioning at household.

“My wife, Nicole, transitioned from being a continue to be-at-residence parent to our 5-year-aged and 10-12 months-old girls and returned to the workforce,” claimed Metz, Senior Plan Supervisor for Dow’s Company Services Abilities Center.

At the similar time, an initiative at Dow that was released previous yr, referred to as “Design Your Working day,” is intended to give personnel the overall flexibility to equilibrium their skilled and own lives. Metz mentioned in his family’s scenario, Design and style Your Working day allows him to be with their daughters, Cadence and Maisie, at significant situations throughout the day.


“I have the versatility to make sure our girls get to and from college, and to hockey and soccer methods and dance recitals,” Metz spelled out. “(I can be obtainable for) the minor items like a particular lunch day (with my daughters) in the middle of a day, or playing with Barbies. These are factors I didn’t notice I was lacking.”

Lina Cano-Ackerman, IT Assistance Chief – Manufacturing Functions, was promptly thrilled at the start of Style Your Day.

“It was like a big weight was lifted from me,” mentioned Cano-Ackerman, who has labored for Dow for 22 decades. She and her spouse, Jeff, have a 7-12 months-aged daughter named Cassie.

Even right before the pandemic hit, Cano-Ackerman had been setting up to request the capacity to function from house in the afternoons in buy to be capable to decide up her daughter after university. When the pandemic began, Cano-Ackerman was amid the workers who were shifted to performing at residence. As soon as the Dow workforce began to return to the office environment, she imagined she would be faced with a renewed dilemma.

“It was very welcome information when (Style and design Your Day) was introduced. I was extremely delighted to hear it,” she mentioned.

Cassie, a “mom’s female,” as Cano-Ackerman put it, was content to hear it as very well. 

“She will get extremely enthusiastic when I decide her up at college, or at camp now in the summer time,” Cano-Ackerman said. “Those people are things that usually I wouldn’t have gotten to do since she would have been in right after-faculty treatment. It’s been terrific to have that mom-daughter connection (during the working day).”

What is Design Your Day and what was the impetus for it?

Mike Weideman, World wide Human Means Remedies Director for Dow, said Structure Your Working day arrived about right after it became obvious that workers had been equipped to keep on being effective whilst doing work at property because of to the pandemic.

“Design and style Your Working day, in brief, is Dow’s new framework for adaptability,” Weideman said. “Staff members and leaders are entrusted and empowered with function-primarily based flexibility as considerably as wherever and when their work is carried out, although however becoming accountable to deliver final results.”

A group of Dow staff was fashioned in late 2020, Weideman claimed, and was tasked with generating a technique for the “subsequent gen office.”

The result was Style Your Day. The initiative was authorized by Dow management and its board of directors about a yr back and was introduced during the organization in the next 50 percent of 2021.

“It is really what we think to be a detailed tactic with out overprescribing,” Weideman reported. “It is also open to evolution. We created it for what we know currently, but we’re open up for what tomorrow provides.”

Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Fitterling summed up Style and design Your Working day with the following statement on the site corporate.dow.com:

“We have discovered lots of precious classes via the pandemic about why providing all staff with overall flexibility is crucial. This is why we established Style and design Your Day. Structure Your Working day is Dow’s new adaptable workplace strategy. It is not a plan or a one-size-fits-all solution. Alternatively, it is a mentality and a cultural shift that is rooted in our ambition. The Dow Leadership Group totally endorses Style and design Your Day mainly because it is improved for staff members and ideal for Dow.”

What does Design and style Your Working day appear like?

Layout Your Working day is put into exercise soon after collaboration between staff and their supervisors.

“We strongly persuade extremely clear worker-chief conversations prior to embarking on the DYD journey,” Weideman explained. “Our leaders have to get the job done with their teams to empower them to make selections that are very best for by themselves as employees.”

The way Metz describes it, Design Your Working day gains his household sphere and, in convert, his do the job sphere as effectively.

“DYD has specified me own overall flexibility to be a far better father and partner and, in convert, a much better employee,” Metz said. “I feel empowered to make decisions on when I get work performed — and nevertheless be accountable.”

Sometimes, Metz is at the business office for the full working day. Other times, he functions remotely for component of the working day. It is dependent on his possess program as an employee as well as people of his function workforce and his household on a specific working day.

Cano-Ackerman also explained she feels this new place of work culture has place her in a greater placement to help both of those her household and her firm.

“I have definitely been a lot more effective,” she said. “Sometimes I have to have to be in the office environment due to the fact of the sorts of conversations we are obtaining. But sometimes, if I’m on the cellphone all working day, I can be at dwelling.”

She commutes from her home in Midland to Auburn, so eliminating that driving time on certain instances can be valuable.

“That time that I would have been in the automobile, I can invest in productive time,” Cano-Ackerman explained, adding, “I like coming with each other (with my team users) for a objective, while. It can be potent, and there’s a lot of interaction.”

Weideman and his wife, Kari, have a 14-12 months-previous son, Dayten, and an 11-yr-previous daughter, Nev. He is also grateful for the opportunity to operate remotely element of the time and be with his family members at specific moments for the duration of the day.

“At the identical time, I also want to be there for my Dow staff. I’m on site on a common basis,” he stated.

And for some staff, performing total-time at their perform site is the finest fit, Weideman noted.

“We have some people that will go to the place of work just about every working day. It’s possible they have a ton of points heading on at household,” he claimed. “(Style Your Working day) means something distinctive for everyone, but there is a framework in place that enables individuals to determine out (what performs best for them).”

Cano-Ackerman, who leads a team of staff members that spans diverse international locations, echoed Weideman’s believed that Layout Your Working day is a versatile and fluid idea.

“We’ve experienced lots of conversations and I don’t direct or notify them, ‘You have to have to be in the place of work these hrs.’ It can be personal,” Cano-Ackerman said. “The vital point is, general we have a career to get done. We are all grownups. (An individual’s work schedule) is not established in stone, it can transform. It is open up interaction to realize the place they are, how can we make Design and style Your Working day get the job done for them on an person basis.”

Aiding recruitment and retention

Weideman is self-confident that Dow’s new initiative will help the organization the two keep its recent staff and draw in new types.

“Opinions (from staff members about Style and design Your Working day) has been exceptionally favorable thus significantly,” Weideman claimed. “The extra empowered versatility an staff is suffering from, the increased their employee engagement and gratification scores are.”

With providers competing fiercely for personnel in present-day task industry, this new initiative is offering Dow a leg up, in accordance to Weideman.

“This has been a wonderful instrument for us in recruiting and in staff retention,” he explained. “All over the pandemic, many people reassessed their priorities. Layout Your Day makes it possible for an personnel to treatment for a mum or dad or a close friend, or whatever is essential for them not to overlook.”

Cano-Ackerman agrees.

“When I recruit, in some cases (Layout Your Day) has allowed us to get far more expertise and get them in the doorway,” she mentioned. “It is a quite aggressive house. This is a person of the issues that assists draw in candidates: acquiring the overall flexibility of Design Your Working day.”

Since 50 to 60% of Dow workforce are necessary to be on web-site for their careers all or most of the time, Weideman mentioned, the business is seeking at how it can increase Structure Your Day to profit its whole workforce.

“We’re totally mindful that not just about every job at Dow is open up to the same kind of versatility,” he claimed. “We’ve bought plans to enhance spaces where by individuals are necessary to go in (to function). We are also exploring the opportunity about much more change flexibility and shift swapping by way of digital capabilities. We did create Design Your Working day for all people at Dow, not just aspect of the (workforce).”

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