Skip to content
Accessibility Sitemap Search

The UK's national charity for working parents and carers

Members log in

Don’t miss out!

Sign up for free resources, exclusive events and the latest updates for employers, line managers and HR professionals.

Case study library

  • Welcome to our employer case study library

    The case studies are free to access. To help keep the library relevant and useful, please provide a few details. By entering your data, you agree that your information will be processed in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Alternatively, if you are a Working Familes member, please log in for immediate access.

    Members Log-in

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
    Do not fill this in

Published: 26 Jun 2024

Forward Carers – Finalist 2024, Best for Mental Health & Wellbeing, sponsored by ILF Scotland

Forward Carers have been on a journey that has seen the introduction of fundamental changes in ways of working that has embedded wellbeing into working culture and allowed their people to be present and productive.  

A strategic approach 

Forward Carers started to take a strategic approach toward mental health in 2021, to recognise and address the link between wellbeing and work. The need for change was recognised and driven from the top, by a CEO who understands the human and business benefits of a happy, healthy workforce. Forward Carers identified wellbeing aims through listening to staff, and discovered what positively and negatively impacted them. In response they trialled a one-hour ‘Wellbeing Work-out’ whereby everyone was given one hour to do something positive for their wellbeing, with extremely positive feedback. This was taken further when they embarked on becoming a Four Day Week employer. Staff are now paid a full-time salary for 80% hours, and part-time staff retain the ‘work-outs’ or are paid 10% extra, up to two hours per week. Survey results report 100% of staff seeing a positive impact in work-life balance, 90% in work satisfaction and 80% in work productivity. They have also grown their workforce and turnover and been included in the top 100 Social Enterprises in the UK and been awarded Public Services Social Enterprise of the Year 2023. 

The right tools 

Employees are able to self-identify via the HR Portal, without a diagnosis, which includes mental health and neurodiversity. Support is identified through discussion, and staff are supported to apply to an Access to Work scheme for additional support. Line managers have mandatory training on mental health. Mental health and wellbeing are monitored via pulse surveys, one-to-ones and supervision. 

Flexible working is seen as a mechanism support individual circumstance, and so core hours are minimal and several solutions are in place including flexible starts and finishes, job shares, short and long term solutions, with some people choosing to work outside normal working hours. Forward Carers are a Four Day Week employer, being paid full time salaries for 80% hours, with a part-time arrangement in place.  

Healthy working practices 

Mental health is not a taboo subject. Culturally, it is normalised through regular informal conversations about worries and sharing tips and coping strategies, as well as more formalised practices such as monthly one-to-ones. Forward Carers place wellbeing at the front and centre of their work practices. In addition to an Employment Assistance Programme and subsidised health care, staff have two days off annually for volunteering in the community, including a team wellbeing and volunteering day. Staff are encouraged to use their non-working day for wellbeing activities for themselves. The staff utilise skills within the team, such as meditators, runners, breathwork practitioners to share learning. Awareness days are utilised as an opportunity to provide peer-led training on managing anxiety or mindfulness, as well as showing solidarity.