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MHA Larking Gowen – Winner 2019, Best Flexible Working Initiative

3 key points

  • Flexible hours and remote working introduced after successful trial.
  • Office redesign incorporated quiet space, hot desks and collaborative working space.
  • Chargeable time has increased while sickness, absenteeism, staff turnover and costly overtime have been reduced.

“I work part-time annualised hours so instead of worrying about hitting a set number of hours a week, I have an annual target and can decide my working pattern. Generally, I work term-time and have school holidays off. It takes careful planning to ensure I can still meet clients’ needs and I make sure it works. This is the most important part of my employment. It’s worth far more to me than money. I can be a mum and not feel guilty if I need to be with my children.”

Emma Arthurton, Manager

Summary

Encouraging flexible hours and remote working from home or client offices along with an office redesign to create quiet space, hot desks and collaborative space has increased chargeable time while reducing sickness and absenteeism, staff turnover and costly overtime.

MHA Larking Gowen rolled out an agile working policy last year after a successful trial of flexible working.

Flexible options for employees now include flexitime, compressed hours, part-time hours, annualised hours and term-time working as well as remote working from home, alternative company offices or client offices.

Over a third of employees now work flexibly and staff surveys show their happiness and engagement levels have increased as a result.

The company has introduced Skype for team meetings to ensure people can still have ‘face to face’ conversations and Softphone technology so employees can pick up calls through their laptop via a Bluetooth ear piece.

When the programme launched, line managers received guidance and training in how to manage staff working flexibly.

An office redesign reflected the shift in working culture with the introduction of quiet zones, hot desks, and collaborative working space – all of which has gone down well with employees.

Teams are encouraged to meet physically once a month and a social fund is provided to encourage teams to meet outside of work too, to help strengthen team relationships.

Staff turnover has dropped by four per cent since introducing the firm’s ‘agile working’ approach, while chargeable time has increased by more than seven per cent.

Staff sickness and unplanned absences have dropped. So has the need for costly overtime, or time-off-in-lieu.

Externally, the firm continues to get positive feedback from clients and new recruits.