Note: This was an internal post I shared with our team on our own FMYI social collaboration site when we won the Sloan Award. I’m republishing it publicly so all of you can read about workplace flexibility and FMYI:

It was a dream of mine when I started FMYI to create a company with a commitment to work life balance, and a culture that embraces our desire to spend time with family and friends. I know many of you share this same spirit as well. Even though it can be difficult to do this given our industry, going through the startup phase, and the challenges of the global economy, we are committed to improving in this area.

I’m proud to say that last week we received the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility and a letter of recognition from State Senator Diane Rosuenbaum, the Oregon Senate Majority Leader. The Sloan Award is unique because it emphasizes employee input, is work-site based, and workplaces compete against a national standard.

Family Forward Oregon hosted the event where 20 workplaces received awards, including Intel, Portland State University, gDiapers, Mercy Corps, KPMG, and the Oregon Environmental Council. Several members of our Portland-based team attended this celebration. We were inspired by the efforts of our fellow winners, such as Rose City Mortgage. Founder Renee Spears has created an amazing culture that lets its staff set their own hours, hides buddhas around the office to create a fun atmosphere, donates a major portion of their fees to charity, and creates rapid economic growth.

Here are some of the workplace flexibility policies that we have at FMYI:

• Encourage and support employees with personal or family needs by finding solutions that work for both employees and the organization.
• Allow some employees to work all paid hours from home to accommodate temporary and permanent relocations (such as when a spouse/partner assigned or needs to move somewhere or to care for family).
• Provide more than the required amount for job protected leave for FMLA even though we are not required to do so by law because of our company size (16 weeks).
• Accommodating to the needs of families by allowing employees to care for children and spouses when they are sick through flexibility in schedules.

It hasn’t been easy though — distanceimage and real time collaboration tools can’t completely replace face to face in terms of building bonds and reducing misunderstandings. To address this, that’s why we have our annual summits that bring together FMYI team members from around the country.

And a big part of making this all possible is the FMYI collaboration platform. It would be harder to implement workplace flexibility without using FMYI sites. Much of the attention when it comes to telecommuting focuses on real time tools like video chat and screensharing. We use those, but most of the day, people aren’t meeting in real time. Asynchronous or communication that doesn’t happen at the same time make up most of our day and needs. For example, emails and social networking site posts are an important way to stay up to date. It captures what happens in between meetings, whether it’s catching up with a colleague or a high school friend you haven’t seen in awhile.

We know that FMYI is the perfect solution for powering a flexible workplace because whether you’re in the office, out visiting clients, traveling, clearing your mind, getting creative, or permanently working remotely, you can stay on the same page through FMYI’s built in social network, and get access to projects, contacts, resources, and a calendar all in the same place. The free email and phone support we offer and our social and environmental commitment are icing on the cake.

Congratulations on receiving this award, and I’m looking forward to doing even better with empowering work life balance!

Onward and upward,