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Lloyds Banking Group, Commended 2014, The National Grid Best for Flexible Working Award

Lloyds Banking Group has a long track record in flexible working, as one of the first employers to open up flexibility to all employees more than 15 years ago. However, it recognises that it needs to be proactive in this area as employee expectations around work–life balance increase, and the business environment changes too. The bank is clear in its values: it explicitly includes a commitment to value and respect colleagues’ work–life balance. The banking industry has undergone substantial change. Driven by an increase in competition and easy access to more advanced technology, customers now desire a 24-hour service and access to their money at a time convenient to them. Lloyds Banking Group’s’ aim to become the best bank for customers can be achieved, it believes, only if it meets customer demands. Creating and maintaining an agile and flexible organisation is therefore seen as vital.

The WORKWise programme is designed to enable employees to work in a more agile way, and ensure the business is able to use office space in more efficiently. Traditionally, employees worked in offices and offices had become an expensive resource. As a consequence of flexible working practices and virtual technology, Lloyds Banking Group now uses five desks for every six workers in 20% of its offices. In doing this they have been able to reduce their office footprint, improve their environmental impact and drive significant cost savings for the Group.

New technology and WORKWise have enabled more employees to work remotely, including from home. A Remote Working Toolkit provides easy access to documents, links and useful information for remote-working colleagues, teams and their line managers. The toolkit also contains an e-learning module which explores why remote working is beneficial for the organisation, teams and individuals, as well as sharing practical tips and techniques around effective flexible working.

During one week in every month, employees are encouraged not to travel (unless it is business critical) and to use remote technology instead. This initiative has changed the way that people work, not just during the prescribed No Travel Weeks, and has enabled Lloyds Banking Group to operate in a much more agile way, benefiting colleagues and the business. “No Travel Week has allowed the Group to deliver early on its environmental commitments. Having set a target to reduce business travel by 20% by 2020 (From Oct 09 – Sep 10 reporting period), the introduction of No Travel Week in 2011 meant that by as early as 2012, business travel had reduced by over 25%”.

Lloyds Banking Group was a leader of the Agile Future Forum, and within the bank it has put an Agile programme into place. The programme will look at agility that serves customers, the business and staff, with the aim of introducing a framework that delivers for all three. Pilot programmes have enabled Lloyds Banking Group to fully test the process across a wide variety of types of working environments. The focus is now on embedding this into day-to-day operations, business unit reviews, team restructures and redeployments, recruitment, talent and role design processes. This will allow business leaders within Lloyds to analyse their team configurations differently. The bank is also reviewing its approach to colleague-led applications and embarking on a comprehensive programme of activity. For example, it has changed its recruitment processes, so that flexible working is an option for all roles. If a role cannot be worked flexibly, there must be a clear rationale as to why this is so.