At Shield GEO, we want to assess you on output, not on the hours that you work.
Here at Shield GEO, we want to create a state of symbiosis between your work, and your life. So what do we expect, and how do we achieve this?
Where you work is not our concern. We want you to feel comfortable where you work. Our only concern is that you work in a safe environment and that you work in an area that is conducive to productivity. We have our own newsletter and a list of guidelines on how to create a safe working space for yourself. Feel free to also reach out to other colleagues to discuss ideas about how they make a safe workspace for themselves.
If you are moving around while you work i.e. traveling through countries as a part of a holiday, or a “workation”, we still rely on you as an effective team member and employee. We will delve into this aspect of reliability a little further below.
In this specific instance of moving locations while working, it is your responsibility to plan and prepare before you vary your working location. Here we have a non-exhaustive list of things to consider when working on the move:
All you need is an internet connection and a can-do attitude. At the same time, don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for help when you need a little support. We expect open and honest communication between all of us and encourage forecasting issues that may arise so that we can work together as a team to solve them earlier rather than later.
It is expected that we will all have our good and bad days. Sometimes, we may be more productive than other times, but it’s not always the case that our tried-and-true methods will hold. Changes in life are inevitable, whether they be large or small, but having flexible work hours at Shield GEO allows for those changes. When things do change, it also does not mean that our new schedules will be incorporated without a hitch, and it takes time to figure these things out. These changes are normal and so we encourage you to talk to someone. You could even give a shoutout on our less formal communication channels, as it is very likely that someone has experienced this and may have some insight.
When you start at Shield GEO, we will also ask you your preferred way of communication in order of preference. We have a variety of tools for communicating for different tasks. We categorize these tools in terms of richness. They are categorized below:
The method you use to communicate should be related to how complicated the issue is. The more complex the issue, the richer the method of communication we should use. There is a myriad of communication tools but here at Shield GEO, we use the following:
At Shield GEO, we want to encourage autonomy. At the same time, we need to make sure that we are able to work together like a well-oiled machine. As such, we do have requirements and expectations in return for our ability to work remotely and flexibly.
Standard Working Hours (SWH) are determined by you and agreed on with your manager. You may have different SWH on different days of the week depending on your life schedule. However, it is expected that you respond quite quickly during your stated SWH (~5-10mins). Continual inconsistency to be reached within your SWH means that a review and change in your SWH will be required.
“When I was going through the interview process I really got the sense that Shield cares about their employees and are doing whatever they can to make everything comfortable for them and now that I’m onboard, that’s definitely true”.
– Asia Hundley
Establishing SWH is one of the more important things we are concerned about at Shield GEO, as the three key expectations we should have for ourselves, and therefore for each other, are:
Explicit and clear communication is of paramount importance in the remote work structure that we have here at Shield GEO. Remote work calls for elevated levels of communication due to the fact that we are no longer working in the same spaces as our colleagues. Notifying a colleague that you’ve finished a task isn’t as easy as turning to them and communicating it verbally. It is important that we keep our colleagues updated on the tasks we’ve completed, are running late on, or need a little help with, so that we can prevent stressful situations for the entire team when meeting deadlines.
Shield GEO has a diverse team, and we are located all around the world. This has large implications on how we communicate with each other. We have physical distance and time zones to account for. Cultural differences have been identified as one of the key determinants in communication breakdown. As such, we need to be wary of our colleague’s different backgrounds and how differently our colleagues communicate. Rather than getting frustrated, take time to understand why they may have communicated something in the way they did. However, we do encourage explicit and clear communication, making sure that everything is explained in detail. We would rather over-explain something, rather than not give enough detail and create confusion.
In extension to making sure you communicate clearly with your colleagues, it is also important that you are responsive during your SWH. Communication must be two-way. The instantaneousness of conversation in person is lost with remote work, and communication takes longer. Be aware of this when you nominate your SWH. It is not necessary to drop all your tasks straight away if someone asks to conduct a meeting with you, but you should be available to reply quickly, even if it is just to tell them that you are currently busy but can arrange to meet with them in an hour to discuss their issue. This responsiveness will help to avoid frustration and inefficiency.
A big benefit of having SWH is that you shouldn’t respond outside your standard working hours. That means if someone calls or messages on skype or sends an email outside of those hours, ignore it until you start work again tomorrow. Your personal time is your own and we don’t want work to intrude. This requires everyone to adhere to it, so we ask you to respect this same policy when interacting with your colleagues. Don’t call or SMS or skype someone outside their working hours. Make a chatter note or a comment in slack or even send an email, they will pick it up when they start work the next day. We don’t want anybody getting skype messages at 3 in the morning.
These two expectations lead to the last one, which is reliability. The autonomy we provide to create a synergetic work-life balance is hopefully encouraging us to be more reliable for our own productivity and happiness, as well as encourage us to be more accountable and dependable in the work sphere.
Overtime is strongly discouraged. Unfortunately, it is something that we have all had to deal with at times. The key aspect is that it should be unusual, not excessive and you should let us know about it. We would like to eliminate overtime at Shield GEO. We feel strongly that it isn’t sustainable in the long term and that it leads to unhappiness, mistakes, and burnout.
Monitoring over time can be hard to manage in a remote environment with flexible working hours. We don’t always know how many hours you have worked, and we can’t always tell why you logged on at 8pm.
Just to be super clear if you find yourself doing overtime on a consistent basis please let your manager know. Or talk to their manager if you would prefer.
There may be a number of reasons why overtime may be an issue for you. Some people find it hard to switch off, particularly because it is very likely that your workspace is also your home space when you’re working remotely, and the lines of work and home are blurred. Outside of your SWH, it is discouraged that you are online on any communication platforms. We have written up a helpful guideline to help you work efficiently and switch off when you need to.
If overtime becomes a constant, you may want to talk to your manager about this issue and discuss things that can be done to ensure overtime is not a requirement of you completing your job. If you do go through a session of overtime that was unavoidable, perhaps talk to your manager about possibly taking some time off in lieu to make up for it. There is also the possibility to discuss a change in your role design to better suit your ability and work-load.
This leave policy allows flexibility for employees to meet personal, family, work, and community commitments without compromising the achievement of business objectives. The policy applies to all part-time and full-time employees.
This policy covers the following types of leave:
Minimum 20 days. Employees are entitled to annual leave based on the minimum statutory requirements for the country in which they work, provided that the employee gets at least 20 days annual leave in addition to statutory public holidays. This means that if the statute in your host country only provides for 5 days of annual leave, then Shield will provide you with an additional 15 day days so that you receive 20 days of annual leave. Statutory public holidays do not include optional/special public holidays that some countries may have. Annual leave for part-time employees is calculated on a pro-rata basis.
Annual leave may not be taken for periods of less than half a day (4 hours). If you need to take a few hours less than half a day off, it is difficult to track it using annual leave, so we suggest that you just work it out with your line manager e.g. make up the hours another time.
Accumulation of more than 20 days of annual leave is discouraged and employees will be directed to take their leave annually. We want you to take your annual leave so that you get to relax and recharge.
We used to have a policy of leave expiring (so if you didn’t use all your leave each year it would run out) but this wasn’t achieving the right outcomes. So we have changed to instead try two things
1. encouraging people to take leave
2. capping leave accrual when the unused balance gets excessive
We consider an excessive leave balance to be 25 days of unused leave. Having 25 days unused means that you’ve got about 1 year worth of accrued leave. We want you to have flexibility over when you take leave, but we also believe the main benefit of annual leave is that you get to take a break during your work year. Which only really happens if you use your leave.
This means that we will try, if local employment regulations permit, to cap leave accrual at 25 days unused leave. We will let you know when you get to 15 days, 20 days, and 25 days of leave accrued and then we’ll encourage you to book some time off work. We really don’t want to have to enforce the cap so we’re always going to try to work with you to find a solution where you take leave before hitting the cap. If you do hit the cap, then we’ll try to apply it as follows:
– if you get to 15 days, we are going to gently and consistently encourage you to consume leave
– if you get to 20 days, we are going to tell you what will happen if you continue not to take leave
– if you get to 25 days, we are going to try and cap your leave accrual until you start using it
Employees must put forward a request for leave at least 2 weeks in advance of their intended leave date. Managers have the discretion to approve or object to the taking of annual leave.
The period in which leave is accrued is as per Calendar Year (1st January to 31st December), unless local employment regulations state differently. At Shield, it is encouraged that everyone takes their full leave allowance so that they can relax and recharge. We support people in rolling their leave over to the following Calendar Year unless local employment regulations require otherwise.
Employees are entitled to public holiday leave based on the minimum statutory requirements for the country in which you primarily work.
Shield’s Sick Leave Policy is the more generous of the minimum statutory regulations of the country where you are working *OR* the standard Shield SLP. Shield will decide which is more generous. Sick leave also includes carer’s leave (e.g. illness of a child, or immediate family).
The standard Shield SLP is 10 days’ paid sick leave, accrued on a pro-rata basis and capped at a maximum overall accrual of 10 days.
Sick leave expires annually, where applicable, and will not be paid out at termination unless statutorily required.
Sick leave is separate from annual leave. Employees are required to notify Shield GEO as soon as possible when they are absent due to illness or injury and to indicate how long they expect to be absent.
Employees may take paid personal/carer’s leave:
Employees are entitled to compassionate leave of the minimum statutory requirement for the country in which you work. You will be granted the minimum statutory leave on full pay in respect of the death, life-threatening illness, or injury of a member of your immediate family or a member of your household. Shield GEO may allow for additional time off if travel becomes a problem.
Employees are entitled to the greater of Shield’s standard parental leave or the minimum statutory requirements for the country in which you work. If your country does not support parental leave, then you’ll get the full Shield entitlement. We encourage you to have a discussion about your maternity leave preferences with your line manager.
Greater of 2 months paid parental leave (any parent) or local statutory entitlement
If local statutory provides no entitlement then Shield would pay 2 months salary @ full pay.
If local statutory provides more than 2 months @ full pay then Shield would provide nothing extra.
If local statutory is less than 2 months full pay, Shield would top up the entitlement such that the combined total (statutory + Shield) equals 2 months @ full pay.
The 2 months leave should be consumed within 3 months of the child’s arrival
This will be paid by the local government if possible, otherwise, it will be funded by Shield
Parents can take unpaid leave for up to 12 months from the arrival of the child and we’ll keep their job open for them to return to. After 12 months we’d love them to come back but can’t guarantee it is the same role. This means if parents take 2 months of paid parental leave that started on the day their child arrives, they could take a further 10 months unpaid leave starting from the day the paid parental leave finishes (making a total of 12 months).
An employee on parental leave (paid or unpaid) can choose to take 1-2 days per month to stay in touch with us. There is no requirement or obligation for an employee to use stay in touch days. If an employee chooses to take the full 12 months using paid and unpaid leave and not use any stay in touch days, that is a great use of their parental leave entitlements.
A stay in touch day might be spent catching up with their team and any news. It might be bringing their child in to see us. It might be having a 1:1 with their manager. It might be reading through company announcements and watching all hands recordings. It might be doing any or all of these things or some other work. These days are paid based on a pro-rata salary calculation for any days they spend “staying in touch”. We use the standard pro-rata calculation of the relevant country OR the Shield default pro-rata calculation (annual salary / 260 * number of days worked).
Shield GEO reserves the right to accept or decline applications for leave without pay.
You are entitled to the provisions for long service leave based on the minimum statutory requirements of the country in which you work.
All applications for leave are made by the individual via BambooHR.
As mentioned previously, your line manager has the discretion to approve or object to the taking of any leave.
This work equipment policy ensures all employees have the correct and adequate equipment to complete their day-to-day tasks. The policy applies to all full-time employees. If you need anything that isn’t listed here, in particular, if you need any additional support in order to be able to work comfortably and safely, please just let us know.
This policy covers the following places of work:
In general, you are provided with a:
At your primary place of work, the additional items of equipment are provided:
If you work in multiple places and want a second screen for your home, Shield GEO will consider if working from home is regular enough to justify a second screen.
Every person is unique. At Shield GEO, we encourage an inclusive culture that embraces each individual’s differences. We believe that diversity of thought is vital to generating creative ideas, developing effective strategies, and making better decisions. When hiring we do not discriminate by any unlawful means including, but not limited to, race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status.
We benefit daily from the diversity of our teams who come from different generations, geographic regions, cultural backgrounds, and personal circumstances. By bringing together people with different ways of thinking, we generate the most value for our firm, clients, and society. We do not tolerate discrimination.
Some of us are critical thinkers and others are driven by creativity. Some are spontaneous while others are careful planners. It is this mix that leads to new ideas being created and challenged to derive the most effective solution. Through valuing each person’s unique talents, we provide an opportunity for our employees to do what they enjoy and reach their full potential.
We understand that everyone has different needs, and that change is the only constant. We support our diverse and unique talent by embracing flexibility. Whether you’re passionate about traveling, prefer working from home, have dependents to care for, are taking on additional commitments outside work, need daily human interaction to stay sane, or have any special requirements – let us know what’s going on and we’ll do our best to support you. To give you a small insight, we negotiate flexible hours and work-from-home opportunities with our employees who are working parents, and we can offer international assignment opportunities to those who have a hunger to travel.