Croydon is now a Timewise accredited ‘Flexible Working Council’, demonstrating its commitment to increasing opportunities for its staff to work flexibly, reducing costs and improving services to meet the needs of its customers.
This recognition from the Timewise Foundation is thanks to the council’s development of an action plan to increase opportunities for flexible working and to encourage other employers in the borough to encourage them to follow suit.
Timewise promotes the goal of opening up more flexible and part time job opportunities to allow the huge numbers of people who can’t work full time to access the jobs market. By offering greater options beyond the standard nine-to-five Timewise has also found that employers attract and retain more talented staff.
In a letter confirming the accreditation, Emma Stewart, joint CEO of Timewise, said: “The Timewise Council award signifies that a local authority is taking in driving change in flexible working practices. Starting with their own workforce the ambition is to support innovation in shaping future public service delivery and through work with residents and employers to stimulate local labour market flexibility.”
Croydon has been increasingly encouraging staff to work at times that suit them and the business has been providing technological solutions to support this wherever practical. These include greater use of laptops and tablets with video-conferencing capability and full remote access to office files and systems.
This not only benefits staff, but it also works out to be extremely cost effective, reducing pressures on council tax payers. Office costs are able to be reduced thanks to people being able to regularly work from home or stay out on the road without having to constantly return to base. Other efficiencies can also be found thanks to improved productivity.
Customers see advantages because the flexibility provided to staff means services can be more customised to meet their needs.
Croydon Council is also taking steps to lead the way with local employers, setting out the aspiration for them to open up more jobs flexibly and part time. The outcome is that people with all the right skills, but who had struggled to fit work around the rest of their lives due to childcare commitments or living a long way from office locations, are now able to take up opportunities previously closed to them. Part time and job-share solutions are the kinds of options actively encouraged and promoted to help these people back into employment.
“Getting this accreditation from Timewise underlines our commitment and sends out a clear message to our contractors and other employers in the borough. We will continue to improve our own flexible working offer and we want as many firms as possible to adopt these new ways of thinking about when and where people work. It’s better for staff, it’s better for our customers, and so it’s also a lot better for us as organisations.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for jobs and the economy, said: “The council is actively striving for a culture where we have a collaborative, inclusive and creative environment which allows talent to flourish.
“The driving force for this is our Community Strategy; and we are committed to increasing rates of employment of disabled people, young people, over 50s, lone parents and those others furthest away from the labour market.
“We have also recently launched our Good Employers’ Charter, and a commitment to flexible working sits alongside our other objectives. We want employers to sign up to paying the London living wage, make a commitment to training and employing local people, strive to reflect the diversity of the local community in their workforce, and, where possible, source their products and raw materials from local suppliers.”