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Published: 27 May 2021

Together Housing – Winner 2021, Best for Flexible Working

Together Housing is one of the largest non-profit housing associations in the North of England, managing over 36,000 homes.

With 1,493 employees, the organisation has always offered flexible working from day one and prides itself on this being one of the main benefits.

The historical Flexi Policy enabled colleagues to work flexibly between 7.30am and 7pm. This was suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic to enable people the freedom to balance home and work priorities. This has now been replaced by ‘smart agile’ working.

This new approach offers even greater flexibility to colleagues. It is adaptable to enable people to get the job done without the constraints of timesheets and core hours.

The organisation’s vision is to create a culture based on trust and mutual flexibility where people are judged on outputs and not hours. They have piloted the following patterns with no reduction in pay:

  • four-day week
  • nine-day fortnight
  • Monday – Thursday until 8pm
  • contractually home-based
  • evening and weekend working
  • five days spread over seven.

The organisation wanted to deliver a culture where the employee takes ownership of their workplace, pattern and delivery. It has been trialling these different ways of working to understand the impact across roles and services, and to monitor employee productivity and engagement. Performance has been measured on achievement of objectives rather than hours, with colleagues discouraged from keeping time records.

Survey findings reveal that 75% of the workforce are ‘very happy’ with the working hours and patterns, up from 33%. Sickness absence has fallen by 46% and 96% of people report being happier in the pilots than prior to the extensive home and agile working arrangements. Significantly, 74% of people said they were ‘very motivated to go the extra mile on a regular basis’.

As well as more motivated and happy staff, there have been savings for the business. There has been a mileage reduction of 34% and cost savings from the closure of one office. The average saving for employees on commuting is between £509 and £1,745 and between 116 to 324 hours per colleague per year, equating to a significant salary increase.

The organisation is now keeping these flexible working arrangements on a permanent basis, and is rolling out smart agile working to everyone, adapting to the needs of each service and individual employee.

Award sponsored by Find Your Flex Group

Find out what the judges and sponsor had to say about Together Housing – winners of the Best for Flexible Working Award 2021.