May 24, 2007 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Gender | Leave a comment
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Just a quick one: I went on an excursion to vaude, manufacturer of mountain sports equipment and clothing who won I don’t know how many prizes for family friendly work conditions. Roughly a dozen of people were on the excursion, and it left us drooling about what they offer.

Anybody can work part-time, even in the management, with a ratio of up to 70% of part-time employees in some departments. Work-hours are flexible, they have both teleworkers and job sharers, and they also have a day care centre for kids from half a year to ten years, costing no more than 180€ (half a day) to 208 € (a full day) a month, including food. And the food’s organic, btw.

Employees may use the company’s vehicles, having to pay no more than the gas they use themselves. They can take out all the equipment on loan AND the company regulalry organizes courses and events in skiing, climbing, hiking, surviving in the wilderness which start Friday noon (meaning employees get half a day off if they take part in a course).

The company is located in a village that is part of Tettnang, a municipality in the Allgäu, and a year ago, the public swimming-pool was almost closed town. A local initiative approached the company for help – they trained some of their staff as life guards and are now running the pool for half the amount of the original costs and it is even open longer than before. The have also introduced courses in work organization, helping employees to work more effectively in order to reduce extra hours, have special reward and incentive systems (financial reward for employees who make recommendations that affect the whole company; small financial rewards for small recommendations within the departments which go into the department’s kitty).

Improvement? The majority of their employees are female, and almost all of them return to work from maternity leave – some of them return to work in their home offices only a month after having given birth. They can decide whether they want to work 5 hours on two days or two hours on five days a week. Over the past five years the birth rates among employees have almost quadrupled, from 5 to 18 children born a year, in a company with 300 employees. Needless to mention they also have special pension funds to support their employees.

It was all pretty amazing and I am still drooling… I was close to asking them for a job although I really want to move back into the city:-)

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