Thursday, November 14, 2019

Support service launched to help Scottish businesses get best outcomes from flexible working

A new support service to help Scottish businesses harness the power of flexible working has been launched.

Family Friendly Working Scotland, which is supported by the Scottish Government, has introduced a range of training and support options for managers and HR professionals to help them sell the benefits of flexible working to senior leaders and embed a genuine culture change within their organisation.

The new service has been established directly in response to demand from employers for practical support to help them get flexible working ‘right’ and ensure employees and the business benefit.

The business case for flexible working is well established with increased motivation and productivity and reductions in sickness absence and staff turnover repeatedly found in studies.

Research by Family Friendly Working Scotland shows the Scottish population is almost unanimous (95%) in its belief that work life balance is at least as important as salary. This includes nearly a third (32%) of the population who feel it is more important.

Lisa Gallagher, Co-Director at Family Friendly Working Scotland, said: “Flexible working is not a new concept. But attitudes are changing when it comes to who works flexibly. With multi-generational workforces, increasing numbers of working parents and those caring for elderly relatives as well as rising mental health and wellbeing issues, employers are increasingly turning to flexible working to help them face the challenges of a modern responsible businesses.

“But knowing exactly how to implement and normalise flexible working can still be challenging. Our new support service offers practical solutions along with examples and advice from a range of organisations that have managed to successfully change the way they work and are thriving as a result.”

Family Friendly Working Scotland is now offering workshops as well as tailored support packages for employers.

Carol Harkins, HR and Admin Officer at cycling charity Bike for Good, attended a Family Friendly Working Scotland workshop for employers in June.

She said: “We already offer employees quite a bit of flexibility but we’ve not publicised it very well because so much is done on an informal basis and not everything is available to employees in every part of the organisation.

“It was really reassuring to hear from award-winning flexible employers that they don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ flexible solution for employees either, and that this is ok.

“The workshop has helped us feel much more confident in talking about our flexible options and we’re looking at what types of flexibility we can offer teams that so far have not been able to enjoy as much flexibility.

“We are also going to monitor the amount and type of flexible working so we have a clearer picture of what our employees are doing and we are looking at how we can measure the impact this has.”

The charity’s next employer workshop ‘Managing Flexibly’ will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday 3 October 2019.

The workshop takes place just before National Work Life Week (7-11 October 2019) an annual campaign to get both employers and employees talking about wellbeing at work and work-life balance. It’s an opportunity for employers to show their employees, and potential candidates, how their organisation is striving for a family-friendly and flexible working culture. The week is run by Family Friendly Working Scotland and Working Families.

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