Wates Group embraces flexible working to boost wellbeing

Construction and residential development business Wates Group has announced the adoption of company-wide flexible working to improve employee wellbeing and productivity.

The organisation, which employs nearly 4,000 people across the UK, has been piloting its Flexible Working Principles approach, with some staff changing their shift start or end times to accommodate caring responsibilities or other family needs. The pilot has also offered employees more time for activities such as studying or team sports that promote health and wellbeing, while others have asked to take longer lunch breaks or to perform more of their work from home.

According to Wates Group, the new approach will make the business more inclusive, helping it to attract and develop a more diverse workforce, and will encourage employees to develop working patterns that enable everyone to perform at their best.

The business will also advertise all new roles as flexible, stating that flexible working should be for everyone regardless of where they work, and implemented in a way that maintains or improves service for customers as well as being sensitive to the needs and preferences of the wider team.

David Allen, chief executive at Wates Group, explained that the business is committed to doing everything it can to help colleagues achieve a better work-life balance, with senior staff learning a lot about how to work flexibly during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and about how doing so can improve productivity, performance, health and happiness.

“We have listened to feedback from colleagues from across the group and, as part of launching our Flexible Working Principles, are encouraging them to use the next few months to experiment with their working patterns: to find what works for them; to show us what they want their working life to be like in the future; and to use these new flexibilities to support our goal of becoming the most trusted, sustainable and progressive business in the sector,” he said.