“Fore!” Is the Name of the Game on Flexi Friday
When Michelle Pitts learned of WANdisco’s four-day work week, her first thought was “fantastic!” “I thought, ‘I can finally have tee time on Fridays’, ’’ chuckles Michelle, who’s been golfing for 15 years. The only downside to having Fridays free says Michelle is finding someone to play with. Her husband and most of her friends work Fridays, but that doesn’t stop her from hitting the irons.
Michelle also values time with her mom. So Friday lunch has become a mother-daughter ritual.
Playing golf and lunching with mom are not Michelle’s only two passions. Event management is another. Michelle has been managing corporate events for 25 years. As a marketing events manager at WANdisco, Michelle plans, organizes, and manages trade shows and other sales and marketing events from start to finish. She likens event planning to building a house, where you make sure all the key elements are there. That “house” could be in North America or abroad.
It’s all about time management
Anyone who travels for work has racked up hours working nights or on weekends. It comes with the territory. And in Michelle’s line of work, event logistics don’t always take Fridays off. But she’s used to it. “I’ve got this,” she laughs. And rightly so. With 25 years of skin in the corporate events game, Michelle has learned how to effectively manage her time. Being highly organized also helps her accomplish five days of work in four.
She says project management is the key to getting her work done in four versus five days, and manages her projects using a workback schedule to make sure all action items and deliverables are completed in a timely manner. A workback schedule is a calendar that clearly outlines all the tasks required to meet a project deadline by identifying the completion of each task from end to beginning rather than from beginning to end.
One thing the shorter work week has given her is increased awareness of time — hers and that of others. For example, she no longer schedules internal meetings on Fridays unless absolutely necessary. But when it comes to external partners, Michelle doesn’t always have the same luxury. She makes herself available based on the project’s requirements and rarely, if ever, brings up Flexi Friday. She just shows up and gets things done.
The ethics of work
Being organized and good at time management are two qualities that let Michelle thrive in the four-day work model. Having a strong work ethic is another. The 17th-century proverb “When the cat’s away, the mice will play” does not apply to Michelle, who considers herself a “workaholic workhorse” but in a good way.
“As long as you get your work done and are not missing deadlines then it doesn’t matter whether you do your work in three days or six days.”
She’s never far from her laptop or mobile phone (even while watching Netflix, a guilty pleasure) in case she receives an urgent text or email. She works not only with internal WANdisco stakeholders but also with the company’s technology partners and third-party event organizers. This requires juggling a lot of moving parts so being on the alert is important to her.
Michelle’s work ethic comes naturally. She admits she’s never been a nine-to-five person. This is why the four-day work week suits her. It lets her work on her timetable. “As long as you get your work done and are not missing deadlines then it doesn’t matter whether you do your work in three days or six days.”
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