Forum for the Future, Finalist 2012, The Lexington Gray Best for Flexible Working Award
Forum for the Future is a voluntary organisation employing 66 people. Being small, their challenge is to offer flexibility whilst at the same time preserving a strong ethos of the organisational team. To do this they have adopted a wide range of flexibility which is deployed on a semi-formal basis. Most staff work at home at least one day a week, and the organisation makes sure that the technology needed to make this work is available. About a third of staff have additional flexible arrangements, and staff can make a request to work flexibly formally at any time.
Maternity and paternity leave are allowed to be flexed, and additionally staff are given extra time off – six days a year – as “inspiration space” to do other things which will grow them as employees and contribute back into the organisation. After four years’ service employees are allowed a three month sabbatical, which can be taken flexibly over a number of years, or appended to paternity or maternity leave.
All training and development is organised around people’s work arrangements. If it’s unavoidable that someone has to come in on a non-working day then their childcare costs will be reimbursed.
Forum for the Future believe that staff satisfaction and retention have been boosted through a flexible approach to working time, and internal metrics tell them that reduced hours staff perform equally with those who work full-time.
Forum for the Future align their flexible approach with their core values:
“As an organisation that promotes a sustainable way of life, we believe it is vital for us to walk the talk and demonstrate sustainability in the way we work and the way we treat our staff. This includes being flexible, allowing staff to balance their Company work with family life or other commitments, and assuming that employee choice about when, where and how much they work is the rule, not the exception. We believe we have been rewarded with exceptionally talented, committed and loyal staff who give their best to the Company and make the Company a truly great place to work.”