There was a broad positive shift in wellbeing, with many workers speaking of improvements to their family life and sense of wellbeing.
Some stated that they would consider the ability to work flexibly as a key criteria when applying for future jobs. Managers reported a greater sense of trust, ownership and a better team dynamic.
All the Pioneer firms reported no negative impact on budgets or timeframes. Some data suggests adjustments to working patterns could drive savings on labour costs due to enhanced productivity.
Furthermore, the project achieved the following:
- 75% INCREASE in a sense of wellbeing – participants who felt their working hours gave them enough time to look after their own health and wellbeing rose from 48% to 84%.
- Overwork DECREASED – participants agreeing that they regularly work beyond their contracted hours decreased from more than half, to just over a third (51% to 34%).
- Guilt DECREASED – at the start of the project, nearly half of all participants felt guilty of they started later or finished earlier than others onsite. This portion decreased to a third (47% to 33%).
- Trust in colleagues working remotely INCREASED - respondents agreeing with the following phrase: “if someone works from home, I am not sure they are working as hard as they would be on site” decreased from 48% to 33%.
The full results can be read in Timewise’s report: “Making Construction a great place to work – can flexible working help?’.
Timewise has produced a 10-part toolkit for other employers that wish to follow suit, and is recommending that the Construction Leadership Council endorse that the fact that enabling flexible working in construction is critical to:
1. The health of the workforce.
2. Improving levels of wellbeing, diversity, fairness, inclusion and respect.
3. Attracting and retaining talent.
Emma Stewart MBE, director of development at Timewise, says: “This programme has proved, beyond doubt, that flexible working can work even in complex site-based industries such as construction. In a sector that is all about overcoming challenge with innovation, perhaps that should be no surprise. Our trailblazing Pioneers: BAM Construct, BAM Nuttall, Skanska UK and Willmott Dixon have shown that wellbeing and balance should be possible to achieve for the whole workforce – not just those in office roles. And in doing so have provided a blueprint that we hope will drive wider industry change. Working practices no longer need to be a block to attracting the best and most diverse possible talent Our thanks also goes to Build UK for its vision and foresight in catalysing this unique project.”
Suzannah Nichol MBE, chief executive of Build UK, says: “Flexible working has enabled me to continue my career in construction for over 30 years, and this report will help others to do the same. Our industry offers a fantastic range of opportunities, and Timewise and our pioneers have proved that flexible working is possible, even for site-based teams. By sharing what works, we can help companies across the sector create the working environment that will attract and retain a diverse workforce, making construction a positive career choice for everyone. It’s a win-win, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
Harvey Francis, executive vice president at Skanska UK, says:
“We’re delighted to have partnered with Build UK and others to successfully deliver this important piece of work. Skanska UK is committed to improving access to flexible working for our site-based workers, and outcomes from Timewise have assisted in the development of our own flexible working programme, Flex-it.”