#RVAFlex with Bernardo Majano
For this week’s #RVAFlex feature, we sat down with Bernardo Majano, Manager of RVA’s Building Mechanical team and competitive triathlete who recently qualified for the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. In this interview, Bernardo shares his perspective on how a culture of flexibility has helped our teams traverse old barriers and inspire new conversations around health and wellbeing in the workplace.
- Which aspects of RVA’s flexible working arrangements do you enjoy the most, and why?
What I appreciate the most about flexible work arrangements is how it enables people to give their best. Healthier and happier staff means that they are more productive and engaged – it’s that simple.
For me, it comes down to listening to people and breaking down barriers in conversations about health and wellbeing. Flexible work arrangements have existed in RVA for a few years now, but it wasn’t something that was always perceived to be for everyone or even the majority of our staff. Even things like commuting, and the planning and energy that goes into it, was not really considered pre-pandemic – it was just assumed that commutes would be long and difficult in the GTA. Now that we have formalized flex work at RVA, we’ve opened up the dialogue around different life situations and personal obligations, and we’re able to communicate more effectively and work more efficiently as result. Technology has come a long way in enabling new ways of collaboration, especially over the course of the pandemic, and we’ve proven that we can stay productive and close as a team. We are not achieving less by working remotely; in fact, we achieve a lot more with stronger and healthier mindsets. We’re ready to work earlier, faster, and better. For me, that’s a win-win situation for our company and for our staff.
- Tell us about a time when flexible working arrangements were helpful to you.
Being a lifelong athlete, having the flexibility to schedule and attend health-related appointments during the weekday has been very helpful sometimes. I’m always running, swimming, or biking outside of work, and there will inevitably come a time when I need something like physiotherapy or massage therapy to help with an injury. Every now and then, these appointments can be difficult to book outside of the standard working hours. Flexible hours have made it easy to for me to attend these appointments and stay mentally and physically fit for training and races, and that’s been especially beneficial for my own personal health.
Summers being as short as they are in Canada, I think another helpful perk of flexible hours is being able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather during the warmer season! We’re actually doing some work on our backyard now, putting in some new paving, building a shed, trying to turn mostly weeds into mostly grass – and my wife has been taking advantage of the extra time to keep me busy doing work around the house!
- How has your team adapted flexible working in a way that works for everyone?
Everyone on my team really values the flexibility RVA provides us, and because of that appreciation, we’ve all made an effort to respect each other’s schedules and help each other maintain our work-life balance.
The way we’ve made flexibility work for us is to treat it as a two-way conversation: people know they have flexibility to work around their own schedules, so they, in turn, have to be accommodating to work around others’. It comes back to having open conversations: if someone has to leave at 3 PM, for example, we’ll work together to find another time that’s earlier, later, or on another day.
During the pandemic, we also began hosting remote happy hours where the only rule was to chat about anything but work. It’s something that really helped us through the periods of restrictive lockdowns and isolation; now that things are opening up and we can see each other more often, those happy hours are another way for us to get together and collaborate as a team, no matter where we happen to be that day.
We regularly communicate with each other, whether it’s about our schedules or habits, and overall, I think we’ve become more open-minded and positive as a team.
- What would you tell your friends and colleagues about flexible working at RVA?
I would encourage others to consider flexible work as a way to promote the overall health and wellbeing of their staff. We’re also realizing the many benefits that come with breaking geographical barriers.
When I started my career, where you sat was very important. You wanted to be in the main headquarters of the company – or so it was perceived at the time – and that required people to live within the boundaries of a certain office. As we continue to evolve the ways we live and work, I see many companies, including RVA, expanding their office locations and becoming more open and collaborative across many different regions. We’re realizing that the technology is there to help our teams eliminate those traditional geographical barriers. For example, our Building Mechanical group at RVA was mostly in the Toronto area, and we would service branch offices from that location; now, however, we have a significant presence in the Sudbury office, and we are planning on expanding to our Atlantic offices. Any branches could easily work on any project in the GTA or service another branch. It doesn’t have to be a one-way street anymore, and it has obvious payoffs in terms of flexibility and efficiency.
- How has flexibility helped you to achieve your goals, inside or outside of work?
An active lifestyle participating in competitive sports has been a huge part of my life since I was young, and one of the goals I’ve always had was to qualify for the triathlon Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
I can proudly say that I recently qualified for the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Finland by placing 4th in the Men’s 40-44 age group at Ironman Muskoka 70.3, and since I do the bulk of my training over the weekend, flex hours have definitely helped me with the final training build. There is limited time during work days when I can get my training done, so being able to take a full-day or half-day on Fridays throughout the summer has allowed me stretch my time throughout the week to help me meet my athletic goals, on top of my professional ones – and making sure I also complete work around the house, as per my wife’s instructions!
This post is part of a social media series on Flexible Work Arrangements, which features firsthand accounts from RVA’ers on how our culture of flexibility has empowered them to work better, live healthier, and perform stronger. If you’re interested in learning more about RVA’s firm culture, make sure to follow #RVAFlex on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
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