Increasing numbers of staff were becoming parents, and we wanted to make sure they were able to return to work on a flexible arrangement and continue to progress their careers. In addition, as an employer that supports and recruits from the local community, we wanted to support parents wishing to balance home and employment and commitments, and to benefit from this part of the labour market.
We launched a flexible working policy that enables all staff to apply to work flexibly and advertised all vacancies as being open to flexible working. We also set up a flexible workers network group which is led by our Chief Executive, to address any concerns and ensure sure we are inclusive.
A third of our staff are now flexible workers, as 59 out of 180 have formally agreed flexible arrangements. 52 of these are women. This has increased since the launch of the policy, and many of the new arrangements feature compressed hours, which allows the staff member to work full-time hours across fewer days, allowing for additional days off without a loss in salary. Many of our full-time staff also access a flexi-time system.
We also have flexible workers that have joined recently as a result of our approach to part-time hours.
The network group has enabled us to address common flexible working myths. Some part-time staff had thought that their status meant that they wouldn’t be considered for promotions, or that they wouldn’t be included in working groups. We have also been able to make improvements, such as holding meetings or training on days that part-time staff are more likely to be able to attend.
We will continue to monitor the number of flexible workers, meet with them regularly, address concerns, and promote the policy by profiling flexible workers at every level.
Kirsti Henrich, HR Assistant:
As a working parent, having the opportunity to work flexibly in a job share position is fantastic, it means I can work for a great company like B3Living, doing a job I enjoy, but still get to spend valuable time with my family. This gives me the ‘best of both worlds’ and makes me feel valued as an employee. I feel that all the opportunities to further my career are available to me even though I work part time, whereas in other companies I may have been overlooked due to not being ‘full time’.
Jenny Hilliard, HR Manager:
I had a baby 19 months ago and had underestimated how hard it can be to juggle family life with a demanding job and lengthy commute. I applied for a part time job at B3, whose main office is close to where I live, to maximise the time I spend with my baby without jeopardising my career. It’s great to work for an organisation with a genuine commitment to enabling its staff to strike an effective work life balance and to generally ensuring it’s policies and working practices are inclusive.