What do we mean by flexible working and the six step checklist video

The LGA has been working with Timewise for the past two years, to provide practical support for councils to help:

  • recruit and retain talent
  • create jobs in local communities
  • help with accommodation rationalisation.

In this video you will hear about the benefits of flexible working and how it can help organisations move forward, including the six step checklist for flexible working. 


Sarah Messenger, Head of Workforce, LGA
(Time: 00:16 – 01:06)
Flexible working and hiring is really integral to the way that councils are going to work in the future, the way that they design and deliver services, the way that they employ people, but also really important to local communities, local businesses, etc.  Councils can't afford to lose out in the battle for talent in terms of the people that they will need to provide those services, but also they really want people to be economically active within their local communities and flexible working and flexible hiring are really important in ensuring that people have opportunities to be economically active.  So we're delighted to be partnering with Timewise who have a really innovative approach to the whole concept of flexible working and flexible hiring and we know that this will bring real benefits for councils, not only in terms of the people that they employ to deliver services, but also for local people and local businesses.   

Emma Stewart, MBE, Joint CEO, Timewise
(Time: 01:07 – 01:50)
Flexible working simply means managing how, when and where your people work as efficiently, as effectively as possible.  So flexible working is absolutely essential for the modern workplace, but what we mean by flexible working and doing it well means looking at how you support your people to deliver on their outputs without having to manage by presenteeism.  It means getting the culture right as to how people work and it means empowering your teams to be able to work together to balance how they manage work and life and also how they deliver best for your customers.  So essentially if you can get that right you can effectively deliver a more productive and efficient workplace and you can maximise your performance.   

Cllr Lib Peck, Leader, Lambeth Council
(Time: 01:51 – 02:25)
I think flexible working in local authorities, and indeed in other areas of employment, is incredibly important.  As a leader of a local authority I think I need to walk the talk and therefore every time I give a speech to members of staff I say how that is at the top of our agenda.  It's also been very important for us in Lambeth that we've joined Timewise because again that gives a strong message to the staff that's what we're interested in.  And secondly to be a leader you've obviously got to have the policies and the practices embedded in the organisation and that's something that we're very keen to promote as well. 

Jeremy Keates, Manager, Clapham BID
(Time: 02:26 – 02:49)
The key challenges for us as a small organisation revolves around managing staff members effectively and that means having an outcome based approach for managing staff, we feel there needs to be a lot of trust between the employer and the employee, and finally it's about having the IT systems in place to enable mobile working.  We feel if you get those three things right you'll be able to adopt flexible working practices.

Carly Francis, Communications Officer, Kier Group
(Time: 02:50 – 03:10)
We've overcome the challenges surrounding flexible working and hiring flexibly by educating the managers and explaining how jobs can be cut and designed in so many different ways and, as an example, leaving 15 minutes early to pick up a child from school can count as a flexible working practice.  And I don't think the hiring managers and first line managers just realise how easy that could be. 

Emma Stewart, MBE, Joint CEO, Timewise
(Time: 03:11 – 03:45)
We know that in local government particularly talent is essential, getting good talent and bringing it in and growing it in your organisation is key, so most organisations consider flexible working and they offer it to employees, but they don't think about flexibility when they talk to candidates.  And with only 6.2% of jobs advertised as open to flexibility and yet 14 million people wanting flexibility in their next job, there is a significant opportunity here for organisations to unlock the jobs that they have and consider flexibility at the point of hire to get access to the best people.

Cllr Lib Peck, Leader, Lambeth Council
(Time: 03:46 – 04:28)
In Lambeth we're all about trying to create local jobs and we know some of the people that are furthest from the workplace are the people who have demands on them in terms of family commitments, either as parents or as carers, and we know that sometimes the best way to help those people to get back into work and support their families is really offering them the opportunity for flexible working.  And I think as an organisation that also has a strength, because working as I do for a local authority what we want to see are people/employees who are representative of their local communities, who know what the borough's like because they both live and work there.  So for us I think those are the two critical things to empowering flexible working.

Jeremy Keates, Manager, Clapham BID
(Time: 04:29 – 04:48)
For us the benefit has been the ability to recruit really strong candidates at a competitive salary, we've recently run a recruitment exercise and a successful candidate now works four days a week and organises her day around her childcare needs, for us this suits both parties and is a win/win situation for all.

Six step checklist for flexible working:
(Time: 04:49 – 05:08)
1. Observe and listen to the needs of employees
2. Gain buy-in from the key people and early pilot to lead by example
3. Maintain good, regular communication to keep your employees engaged
4. Develop policies, processes, behaviours and ICT to support flexible working
5. Implement flexible hiring
6. Measure, review and celebrate success

To find out more about flexible working go to:
(Time: 05:09 – 05:16)
www.local.gov.uk/our-support/workforce-and-hr-support or email: Suzanne.Hudson@local.gov.uk.