The business world is coping with major challenges resulting from changing values, gender roles and lifestyle preferences. While men want to be more involved with their families, women do not want to be forced to choose between their career and other parts of life. Also employees without a traditional family are seeking their personal work/life integration. AXA Winterthur has launched an innovative type of website that highlights a broad spectrum of different flexible work solutions along with personal examples from employees.
AXA Winterthur’s flexwork internet site features three different types of articles:
- Informational texts or interviews on specific topics including family vs. career, part-time working men, women’s careers, employing elderly people or flexible work arrangements in general
- Personal stories of AXA employees working in flexible arrangements
- Internet forum for discussions and exchange of information and ideas
In one of the articles, Yvonne Seitz, Head of Diversity at AXA Winterthur, explains AXA’s specific understanding of Flexwork and some measures, the company has taken. According to her, flexible work arrangements are an inevitable necessity in responding to societal trends, for example an increasing amount of mothers looking for careers, more and more men reaching out for working time models beyond the full-time bread-winning standard or elderly employees wishing more flexibility both before and after reaching their age of retirement. Studies show that such arrangements –if they are well constructed –may result in less absenteeism, sick leave or turnover whilst propelling productivity, employee satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, work/life integration promotes workforce diversity as more different people are enabled to work. Finally, employees develop additional skills in their private sphere that can then be leveraged at work.
How to apply these concepts and turn theoretical benefits into tangible ones, this is what we can see from some of the personal stories of AXA employees. These examples show many facets of working flexibly including job rotation, home-office, job-sharing, mobile working, and working retirees. The website successfully presents authentic examples beyond stereotypes. For instance, Ruedi Brem, Senior Manager at AXA, is working 80% part-time, having chosen this model due to his passion for music. He reports to be more powerful on his working days since having reduced his office workload. Mike Pfäffli, Head of Market Research, also works in 80% part-time but for different reasons: after having become a father, he wanted to participate actively in raising their child. His case shows that working part-time and assuming management responsibility go together well. Bettina Zahnd’s portrait confirms this: as a mother, she is working 60%-part-time as Head of Accident Research and Prevention. She and some others also have their Youtube clip as part of the campaign.
AXA Winterthur’s Flexwork website can be found at www.axa.ch/flexwork.
AXA Winterthur is the Swiss subsidiary of French insurance giant AXA. AXA Winterthur has 1.85 million customers and about 4,000 employees. The company has won several awards, e.g. as an employer of choice, for family-friendliness or gender equality.