A Pioneer of Flexible Work Schedules Makes Them Actually Work


If you want to know who’s fixing the workplace for ambitious women, look no further than Anna Auerbach of Werk Enterprises Inc. The company, which she co-founded in February 2016, seeks to reinvent the workday by helping businesses create executive-track jobs with flexible formats, including the ability to
work part time or remotely or to not have to travel. “I couldn’t quite understand why there were so few women in leadership,” she says. “It’s so obvious and in your face.”

Part of the problem is that companies spend billions on things that don’t actually solve problems for people, Auerbach argues. “They’ve rethought everything—furniture layouts, communication, branding—but not about why the workday is thought of as 9-to-6.” She says employees typically need flexibility for one of three reasons: caretaking commitments, disabilities, and productivity habits (such as being a night owl). Werk’s two products are FlexMatch, a survey for employees that helps companies figure out needs, and FlexCert, an online training for human resources staff and managers on the nuts-and-bolts of language and practice.

“Often, individuals don’t understand their own needs well enough to articulate them,” says Kim Williams, senior director for employee experience and corporate affairs at Credigy Solutions Inc. “We already had a flexibility policy saying to just let us know [about scheduling issues], and we’ll do our best to meet those needs. But we still had a gap in what employees felt they had access to.” Williams took the FlexCert training in October and recently collected the FlexMatch survey results, which the company is incorporating into long-term planning.

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