Merit Event - Flexible Working Event

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Flexible working is on the increase as employers recognise the benefits it delivers to the business, customers and employees. …

Flexible working is on the increase as employers recognise the benefits it delivers to the business, customers and employees.

Research shows that employees who work flexibly are happy, healthy and productive. And they are friends of the environment too, as they are not travelling at peak congestion times. Organisations adopting flexible working are recording significant savings in property costs as well as improved recruitment and retention rates. Flexible working offers a good deal for all!

If you are considering introducing flexible working, attend this event that will offer practical advice on how to get started plus the experiences of employers who have successfully incorporated flexible working into their business.

This event is free and is being hosted by the Northwest Flexible Working Group.


9.30 – 9.45am

Welcome by Peter Connor, Regional Manager, BT and Chair, Northwest Flexible Working Group

9.45am – 10.30am

Getting started; a panel that will examine the steps to starting out

• Legal aspects – Justin Beevor, Director, Employment Channel, Addleshaw Goddard
• Technology aspects – Gary Coombes, Regional manager, Orange
• Data protection – Gary Dodson, Green Light Computers
• IT infrastructure - Andrew Halliwell, Acting head of ICT Policy, Northwest Development Agency

10.30am – 11.00am

A Personal Perspective;

Anne Bingham – Holmes, Chief Executive, Vale Royal Borough Council and winner of The Times Best Council to Work For, 2007

11.00 – 11.20am

Coffee break

11.20 – 11.50am

Impacting the work/life balance with Susannah Robertson, Robertson Cooper Ltd

11.50am – 12.20pm

Flexible Friendly Employers;

Hear from employers from the public and private sectors, who have benefited from introducing flexible working. Chaired by Andy Lake, Editor of and speakers to include:

• David Parr, Chief Executive, Halton Borough Council & Chair, Merseyside DDA
• Sarah Williams, HR Business Manager, KPMG
• Catherine Nevin, HR Manager, Liverpool John Moores University

12.20pm – 12.30pm

Reference to research generated by flexible working group pilot project.

12.30pm – 1.00pm

Twenty Years on …the story of flexible working in BT with Dave Wilson, Manager Employment Policy, BT plc.


Buffet lunch

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  • 1. Flexible Working & Well-Being in the Workplace Susannah Robertson Robertson Cooper Limited
  • 2. Robertson Cooper
    • Business (Chartered Occupational) psychologists based in Manchester and London.
    • University spin-off company (UMIST) founded in 1999 by Professors Ivan Robertson and Cary Cooper
    • Our core proposition is to enable organisations to develop and maintain performance focused well-being in their workforce
    • Work across the public and government sectors and in the private sector.
  • 3. Work Life Balance
    • Profile of WLB issues increased over last decade
    • Initially about being ‘family friendly’ – gender equality movement, helping women return to work
    • Firmly on the HR agenda - initially an employer led movement
    • 24/7 climate requires different relationship with employer
    • Tendency for flexibility and WLB to be thrown at this problem
  • 4. WLB policies
    • Flexible working - some typical reactions Impact on co-workers - extra co-ordination and cover required - concern over equity of arrangements Impact on motivation and work-related stress - higher levels of individual motivation - motivation of whole work group damaged Impact on well-being - damaged relationships with co-workers - better home life?
  • 5. Flexible Working: An Employer Survey, CIPD 2005
  • 6. WLB policies
    • Will not automatically:
      • improve well-being or reduce work-related stress
      • damage motivation and productivity
    • CAN have a positive impact on both productivity AND well-being
    • Their impact on both motivation and well-being for the whole workforce can be unpredictable and the implementation and consequences need to be constantly monitored
    • Presentation will focus on the combination of the two key issues linked to WLB: well-being and productivity of the workforce
  • 7. Positive psychological well-being
    • Understanding people at their best
    • In the last three months at work have you felt:
    • (1, not at all – 5, very much)
    • Inspired
    • Alert
    • Excited
    • Enthusiastic
    • Determined
    • Happy
    • Contented
  • 8. Well-being and productivity
    • There is a positive correlation between well-being and performance (about 0.3) (Cropanzano & Wright, 1999; Wang, 2000; Donald et al., 2005)
    • Improving well-being = improvements in performance
    • Improving performance = further improvements in well-being - a virtuous cycle
  • 9. Business case for well-being:
    • The satisfaction mirror Well-Being
    • Staff satisfaction Customer satisfaction
    • Talent Management Healthy, happy (and productive) workforce = good image for the organisation – employer of choice status
  • 10. Business case for well-being:
    • Performance improvement What is it worth? For an average performer, 10% improvement in performance is worth 10-15% of salary (Schmidt & Hunter, 1982) Average salary = £25K For 2,000 employees = £1.25M for each 2% increase in performance
    • Sickness-absence*
    • National average – 7 days lost per employee
    • Average cost per employee of one day sick = £82
    • Average cost per employee = 7x£82 = £574 For 2,000 employees: Cost to organisation = £1.1M
    *CIPD, 2006
  • 11. Key Determinants of Well-Being
    • Sense of purpose
    • Resources & Communication
    • Control and autonomy
    • Work Relationships
    • Work Life Balance
    • Work Overload
  • 12. The pressure-performance curve Performance Pressure Stress Lack of motivation Rust Out Burn Out Rust-out Motivation and productivity at risk Performance Focused well-being High productivity and well-being Burn-out Well-being and productivity at risk
  • 13. The ASSET Model
    • Sense of purpose
    • Resources & Communication
    • Control and autonomy
    • Work Relationships
    • Work Life Balance
    • Work Overload
    • Psychological well-being
    • Engagement
    Enabler & Barriers Assess, then intervene
  • 14. Improving well-being via flexible working Measure baseline metrics (retention, productivity, absence etc.) Assess sources of pressure and well-being levels Review whether action is needed
  • 15. ASSET Survey Results
  • 16. Flexible working and well-being
    • Flexible working can work
    • But, unintended consequences to consider
    • To ensure benefits delivered – measure and monitor impact (workforce reactions, key metrics)……. regardless of what scheme implementing