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Working Families Annual Conference 2016

Published: 25 Apr 2016

Working Families Conference

Flexible working has come a long way since it was first introduced by employers as a way of encouraging women to return from maternity leave and to enable them to balance work and home. Many employers are now actively promoting flexible – or agile, smart, dynamic or intelligent working, as it’s often called – for all employees in their workplaces. This isn’t just because it working helps their individual employees achieve a good work–life fit – but because they recognise it brings customer and business benefits as well.

But employers have told me that just sitting down and getting started writing the business case for flexible working can be daunting – let alone embedding it across the organisation and ensuring consistency and fairness. There is a wealth of reports, research and studies out there, they’ve said. So I’m delighted that Working Families is unveiling our one-stop shop guide to the business case for employers at our annual conference this year. Our online hub has identified the key evidence employers will need as they navigate their way round those elements of the business case that apply to their organisation.

We’ll also be running workshops on; your board and senior team – how to get senior business leaders on board and leading from the top; your line managers – how to ensure that the benefits to the business and to individual teams is understood; and your HR, D&I, Talent and ER colleagues – turning your wider team into champions who will support and coach your line managers. They’ll led by experts in the field – Liz MorrisSusanne Jacobs and Carole Edmond – and showcase examples of employer best practice to bring their ideas and suggestions to life.

I’m delighted that Marjorie Strachan, Head of Inclusion at RBS – an organisation that has won a number of accolades for their approach to flexibility – is delivering our keynote speech.  She’ll be focusing on the challenge of delivering inclusive leadership and its link to engagement and business performance, now firmly established. She’ll highlight RBS’s positive action initiative.  Inclusive leadership is definitely a challenge for an employer, but a challenge worth taking on – so I’m looking forward to hearing what Marjorie has to say.

She’ll be joined by Monica Gordon, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at BAE Systems, who will share with delegates how BAE introduced their innovatory ‘schedule based’ working in some of their production sites and their ‘smart working’ options for their professional and office-based staff. Mitra Janes, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at DLA Piper will share how they have used the Agile Future Forum business case approach in particular to implement agile working. And Cat Hines, Head of Early Careers at Bank of England, has just been confirmed as a speaker.  What a wealth of expertise sharing what they are doing – what’s worked, what hasn’t, the pitfalls and lessons learned – to help create happier, more productive workplaces. You can read the latest programme here.

Taking time out from our day-to-day workload to re-energise and re-charge can be difficult. We’re all so busy.  But by coming to our conference, you’ll be able to bring learning from leading organisations taking forward initiatives to ensure more efficient, productive way of organising how work is carried out –to take back to your own workplace.  And you’ll be the first to hear about Working Families’ brand new guide to the key elements of the business case for flexible working and take part in our tailored breakout sessions. Not to mention the opportunity to network with peers.

So if you haven’t already, do register to attend. I’m looking forward to saying hello.  I know the day will inspire and motivate fellow travellers on the journey towards happier, healthier and more productive workplaces.

Kirstie Axtens

Head of Employer Services