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Published: 23 Mar 2018

Includem – Scottish Best Third Sector Employers – joint Winner 2018

Includem was the joint 2018 Winner of the Top Scottish Employers for Working Families Awards – Third Sector category.

Time to shine

Includem works 24/7 supporting some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people to address complex issues in their lives.

The charity operates a fully flexible working practice. All staff, including at head office, are able to work from a location that best suits their needs and the demands of the organisation. No one is tied to working from their office each day. This is all supported by an IT system which is fully accessible from any location. All staff are provided with smart phones with mobile data and laptops.

Frontline staff manage their own shift patterns, including days off and working times. This is managed within each team with the needs of young people the priority rather than arbitrary staffing quotas and as a result shifts are not dependent on other workers.

The organisation has recently piloted an optional 4-day week and a 9-day fortnight to provide additional options for increased flexibility to suit individual circumstances. The trial is still continuing and the outcome will be known by May 2018. If successful the flexible working arrangement will be rolled out across the organisation at some point in 2018. Results indicate that it has benefited our organisation by allowing team managers to better manage deployment through more adaptable working hours, making the service more flexible to the needs of young people. This process has also highlighted that some staff were finding it difficult to manage planning their own shifts, so further support has been provided to these individuals to make deployment easier. Staff have reported that they feel more able to complete their work and that this has improved their work/life balance.

Includem recognises that the impact of their work 365 days a year – often in the evenings and weekends to meet the diverse range of needs of young people – can impact on the workforce. They therefore encourage and support staff through supervision at all levels to ensure that everyone supports flexible working, with senior staff also living these values at work.

Includem continues to implement and test new flexible working arrangements to ensure that we can continue to support work life balance and employee wellbeing in the most effective way, particularly as we know our work will continue to be challenging.

Illuminating ideas

  • Piloted a 6-month 4 day week and 9/day additional flexible working option for employees.
  • An employee forum, made up of staff from all levels and roles discuss issues including work-life balance and gave indepth feedback to the 4 day week/ 9-day fortnight.
  • All recruitment and induction materials include information on flexible working and employees learn skills and techniques to work their shift patterns around their own needs.
  • All of the senior team work flexibly under the principles of agile working. With the need to work across Scotland and attend events out with normal 9 – 5 working week, the team are able to work flexible hours, remotely and from home to maintain a positive work/life balance.
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity entitlement is offered, appropriate to the type and size of organisation.
  • Many of the senior staff and middle level managers are mothers. This is never a barrier to progression. From the recruitment stage to career progression, Includem encourages those with caring responsibilities to adapt their working schedule to meet their family needs.

“I absolutely love the 9 day fortnight! It’s made such a difference. My grandkids told me that I work all the time, but now I get more time off to spend with them. It also means I get to help out my son by looking after them when he needs me to. I was diagnosed with heart failure but really didn’t want to go part time, so getting to take the three days off in a row really helps me build back up my energy and I feel like I can keep working full time now.” 

Young Person Project Worker