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What does Flex mean to you?

In a flexible world, everyone works differently and for different reasons, and so for this year’s National Work Life Week, we’re asking people to share – what does flexible working mean to you? 

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Published: 21 May 2020

Hill Dickinson – Winner 2020, Best for Flexible Working

International law firm Hill Dickinson has 80% of staff working flexibly on an informal basis while one in five employees has a formal arrangement and this figure is rising. 

Hiring managers are trained in flexible job design so they consider all variations of flexibility for each role and all jobs are advertised as open to flexible working.  

New recruits hear more about the firm’s flexible working philosophy during their onboarding programme, and all staff are given laptops so they can work in the office, from home or while travelling for work. 

Line managers are trained in managing flexible workers and this is being rolled out to new joiners and newly promoted staff who have management responsibility. 

The proportion of staff with formal flexible arrangements has increased by 2.5% in the last year. The firm has also seen increases in informal flexible working, particularly among more junior employees such as paralegals, who are choosing to work from home to avoid stressful commutes and be more productive. 

The judges noted Hill Dickinson had particularly high levels of informal flexible working for the legal sector, where more ‘traditional’ and inflexible cultures are still prevalent.  

The judges were also impressed by the company’s appreciation of how long working hours can impact on mental health, and its efforts to look after employee wellbeing. The firm has pledged to make going home on time the norm, not an exception. It ensures employees can talk to managers about any workload issues during mandated weekly one-to-one sessions, and regular internal campaigns and communications remind employees about the need for a good work life balance. 

A recent staff survey showed that 79% of employees agreed that the firm’s working practices supported a healthy work-life balance. A further 13% of respondents gave a ‘neutral’ response, meaning just 8% of staff disagreed with the statement.