Dow employees enjoying new workplace flexibility

Like a lot of folks all around the environment, Aaron Metz saw his private lifestyle and operate lifestyle intersect as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and an prolonged short-term change to working at household.

“My spouse, Nicole, transitioned from staying a remain-at-dwelling dad or mum to our 5-calendar year-previous and 10-year-aged girls and returned to the workforce,” reported Metz, Senior System Supervisor for Dow’s Company Facilities Skills Middle.

At the exact time, an initiative at Dow that was launched very last year, termed “Style and design Your Working day,” is supposed to give employees the overall flexibility to balance their experienced and personalized lives. Metz explained in his family’s scenario, Style and design Your Working day allows him to be with their daughters, Cadence and Maisie, at vital occasions for the duration of the day.

“I have the flexibility to make guaranteed our ladies get to and from college, and to hockey and soccer tactics and dance recitals,” Metz explained. “(I can be obtainable for) the little factors like a unique lunch date (with my daughters) in the center of a day, or actively playing with Barbies. Individuals are points I didn’t recognize I was missing.”

Lina Cano-Ackerman, IT Support Leader – Producing Operations, was promptly thrilled at the launch of Design and style Your Day.

“It was like a substantial excess weight was lifted from me,” mentioned Cano-Ackerman, who has worked for Dow for 22 years. She and her husband, Jeff, have a 7-year-previous daughter named Cassie.

Even before the pandemic strike, Cano-Ackerman had been planning to request the capacity to get the job done from household in the afternoons in purchase to be ready to decide up her daughter right after university. When the pandemic started, Cano-Ackerman was among the the staff members who have been shifted to working at house. The moment the Dow workforce commenced to return to the business, she thought she would be confronted with a renewed predicament.

“It was extremely welcome information when (Design Your Working day) was declared. I was incredibly satisfied to listen to it,” she mentioned.

Cassie, a “mom’s girl,” as Cano-Ackerman put it, was pleased to listen to it as well. 

“She will get incredibly enthusiastic when I decide her up at college, or at camp now in the summer,” Cano-Ackerman mentioned. “Individuals are things that commonly I wouldn’t have gotten to do mainly because she would have been in after-school treatment. It is really been excellent to have that mom-daughter link (during the working day).”

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

Mike Weideman, World wide Human Methods Remedies Director for Dow, mentioned Layout Your Working day came about after it became distinct that employees have been ready to remain effective whilst doing work at property owing to the pandemic.

“Layout Your Working day, in shorter, is Dow’s new framework for flexibility,” Weideman reported. “Staff and leaders are entrusted and empowered with job-centered overall flexibility as significantly as wherever and when their operate is performed, while still staying accountable to provide final results.”

A staff of Dow staff members was fashioned in late 2020, Weideman said, and was tasked with developing a strategy for the “up coming gen workplace.”

The final result was Style Your Day. The initiative was accredited by Dow leadership and its board of directors about a calendar year in the past and was launched all through the company in the second half of 2021.

“It is what we think to be a in depth method with out overprescribing,” Weideman claimed. “It is also open up to evolution. We intended it for what we know today, but we’re open for what tomorrow delivers.”

Dow Chairman and Main Govt Officer Jim Fitterling summed up Layout Your Working day with the subsequent assertion on the web-site

“We have realized several beneficial classes as a result of the pandemic about why offering all workers with overall flexibility is vital. This is why we created Design and style Your Day. Style and design Your Working day is Dow’s new flexible place of work approach. It is not a coverage or a 1-dimensions-suits-all solution. As an alternative, it is a state of mind and a cultural change that is rooted in our ambition. The Dow Management Group fully endorses Style Your Working day mainly because it is far better for staff and very best for Dow.”

What does Layout Your Day glance like?

Design and style Your Day is set into observe immediately after collaboration concerning staff members and their supervisors.

“We strongly really encourage extremely clear worker-leader discussions prior to embarking on the DYD journey,” Weideman claimed. “Our leaders have to perform with their teams to empower them to make possibilities that are finest for them selves as employees.”

The way Metz describes it, Layout Your Working day benefits his home sphere and, in transform, his operate sphere as nicely.

“DYD has given me own flexibility to be a superior father and spouse and, in flip, a superior employee,” Metz mentioned. “I come to feel empowered to make selections on when I get work done — and nevertheless be accountable.”

In some cases, Metz is at the office environment for the complete day. Other situations, he will work remotely for portion of the day. It is dependent on his have program as an worker as nicely as these of his perform crew and his relatives on a specific day.

Cano-Ackerman also claimed she feels this new place of work tradition has place her in a greater position to support both of those her family members and her corporation.

“I’ve definitely been far more productive,” she reported. “Sometimes I want to be in the office environment mainly because of the forms of discussions we are obtaining. But often, if I am on the telephone all day, I can be at household.”

She commutes from her house in Midland to Auburn, so getting rid of that driving time on sure events can be effective.

“That time that I would have been in the car or truck, I can devote in successful time,” Cano-Ackerman mentioned, adding, “I like coming jointly (with my crew users) for a reason, though. It is highly effective, and there’s a great deal of communication.”

Weideman and his spouse, Kari, have a 14-year-previous son, Dayten, and an 11-12 months-old daughter, Nev. He is also grateful for the possibility to operate remotely section of the time and be with his household at particular moments for the duration of the working day.

“At the exact same time, I also want to be there for my Dow staff. I’m on web-site on a frequent basis,” he claimed.

And for some employees, working comprehensive-time at their operate web site is the best suit, Weideman pointed out.

“We have some individuals that will go to the place of work each working day. Possibly they have a great deal of things likely on at dwelling,” he mentioned. “(Style Your Working day) means something unique for all people, but there’s a framework in put that will allow folks to determine out (what works greatest for them).”

Cano-Ackerman, who leads a crew of workers that spans distinct international locations, echoed Weideman’s believed that Design Your Day is a flexible and fluid strategy.

“We have had several conversations and I you should not direct or notify them, ‘You have to have to be in the office environment these hrs.’ It is person,” Cano-Ackerman mentioned. “The critical factor is, over-all we have a career to get accomplished. We are all adults. (An individual’s function program) is not set in stone, it can change. It can be open communication to have an understanding of where by they are, how can we make Design Your Day do the job for them on an individual foundation.”

Aiding recruitment and retention

Weideman is assured that Dow’s new initiative will assistance the enterprise both equally keep its latest employees and bring in new types.

“Feed-back (from employees about Design and style Your Day) has been really favorable so considerably,” Weideman stated. “The extra empowered versatility an worker is going through, the higher their worker engagement and fulfillment scores are.”

With companies competing fiercely for workforce in modern career market, this new initiative is giving Dow a leg up, in accordance to Weideman.

“This has been a great software for us in recruiting and in employee retention,” he claimed. “Through the pandemic, lots of folks reassessed their priorities. Layout Your Working day will allow an personnel to treatment for a mum or dad or a close friend, or what ever is vital for them not to miss.”

Cano-Ackerman agrees.

“When I recruit, in some scenarios (Structure Your Day) has allowed us to get a lot more expertise and get them in the door,” she mentioned. “It is a incredibly competitive space. This is a person of the factors that helps appeal to candidates: getting the flexibility of Style Your Day.”

Given that 50 to 60% of Dow workforce are demanded to be on internet site for their jobs all or most of the time, Weideman mentioned, the corporation is searching at how it can grow Design Your Working day to gain its overall workforce.

“We’re thoroughly aware that not just about every position at Dow is open to the identical type of versatility,” he said. “We have got options to enhance spaces the place people are expected to go in (to operate). We’re also checking out the likely close to a lot more shift versatility and shift swapping by means of digital abilities. We did build Design Your Working day for all people at Dow, not just element of the (workforce).”