The end of 9-5: 'Complete and utter trust' fuels move to flexible working at PepsiCo

Anita Patrick on how the traditional working day has changed

The end of 9-5: 'Complete and utter trust' fuels move to flexible working at PepsiCo

PepsiCo has put an end to the traditional working day with the introduction of its Flextime policy.

The global food and beverage giant has removed official start and end times to give employees autonomy around how they structure their workday.

Taking a people-centric approach to its HR strategy, PepsiCo believes a one-size-fits-all model is no longer functional for a modern workforce.

Anita Patrick, HR director at PepsiCo, said the Flextime policy was a result of changes in thinking from the top down.

She told HRD: “What we’ve managed to achieve is a fundamental shift to complete and utter trust in our people – and I truly believe this has to be a leadership mindset.

“What we see as a result from this is our people reaching their full potential and performance.”

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Employee feedback at PepsiCo found that while the option to work from home was welcome during the pandemic, little or no contact with colleagues hindered productivity.

For PepsiCo and many other big businesses across Australia, the future of work looks like a hybrid model.

“I think it’s clear that we need to strike a balance and I’m confident we can do that,” Patrick said.

“70% of our people say that in the future the ideal workplace provides flexibility to choose remote working or office time depending on their changing work and personal needs.”

Research by Boston Consulting Group found between 41% and 60% of the 1,000 workers surveyed said they would prefer to work from home a few days a week in future.

The variation depended on age groups, with workers aged over 60 favouring remote work between 81 and 100% of the time.

But even before the pandemic began, flexibility had been a focus for the HR team at PepsiCo.

After rolling out the policy in May, Patrick said 78% of employees now feel comfortable in utilising flexibility to manage their work/life balance.

PepsiCo’s CIO Brian Green said increased flexibility has helped him to manage working across various timezones.

But while workplace productivity is naturally great for business, the policy also puts an emphasis on benefits at home too.

By staggering his hours, Green can enjoy precious time with his son at lunchtime and take his daughter to soccer practice after school too.

“Time with your kids is something you are never able to get back so I’m enjoying my new weekday routine and taking full advantage of the Flextime policy,” he said.

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