Published on in Responsible Business

Speak to our colleagues, customers, partners, and suppliers; they all say flexible working is built into the way we operate, and I agree.

Before the pandemic, many organisations encouraged working from home once a week. I personally felt this wasn’t flexible working at all.

There’s more than 330 different flexible working combinations and 87% of employees across the UK want more flexibility.

Flexible working to me is, deciding in the morning to work from home, leaving our Manchester office at 3pm to get home for by 7pm, and going to see family in Portugal and working there for a couple of weeks. It is, in essence, flexible.

The past year has completely reformed the world’s view of flexible working. These changes aren’t just happening in the UK, our workplace in Japan has launched a Work Life Shift initiative allowing employees to tailor their individual working pattern to enable a better work-life balance.

For the UK, we wanted to join the Work Life Shift initiative by delivering on our #WorkYourWay promise. This promise understands that dynamic solutions to society’s challenges can only be achieved through a flexible and respectful approach to work. So we took this opportunity to change our flexible working policy.

We focused on incorporating four key considerations into our flexible working policy:

  • Believing in the benefits: Using positive language to speak openly about the benefits flexible working brings and the importance of enabling people to work flexibly.
  • Removing barriers: Allowing employees and managers to have flexible working conversations from day one of employment. We’re making flexible working the default position.
  • Trusting our managers: With so many flexible working combinations, we now ask everyone to first have informal discussions with their managers. This means we can accommodate flexible working requests quickly and informally, before any formal requests are made.
  • Opening flexible working to all: Breaking down stereotypical barriers and sharing employees’ stories helps to demonstrate how everyone can benefit from using flexible working.

These simple changes enable us to support more people to get a better work-life balance – in a way that works for them.  And this is important, because employees bring their best to work when they’re happy at work and at home.

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