The Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) has partnered with Timewise, a specialist flexible working consultancy, to create a programme that can help members develop flexible working schemes within their own companies.
The aim is to come up with ways to give flexibility to the working hours of not just office staff but also those working on site.
The initiative, which the FPS plans to launch in the summer, is designed to develop an understanding about the benefits and implementation methods for flexible working practices within FPS site operations, and the benefits they can bring to employee wellbeing without impacting productivity.
FPS chair Steve Hadley said: “The coronavirus pandemic has seen many of us working more flexibly and aspects of this type of working look set to continue, in hybrid-form, as employers recognise the benefits flexible working bring to employees – more family time, less travel, improved wellbeing – and all without detriment to the business.
“Site working, unlike office-based roles, however, has typically been excluded from such ‘flexible practices’ due to the demands and hours of work – real or perceived – and the FPS would like to explore ways this can be overcome to widen the benefits to all. The construction sector is already struggling to attract and retain staff as well as encourage a more diverse work force, with working hours and the lack of flexibility often cited as a prime reason.”
He added: “The flexible working initiative should help tackle the perceived difficulties surrounding flexible working and site work, and hopefully bring about a revolution in working practices for the good of everyone.”
Timewise chief executive Melissa Jamieson said: “We are delighted to partner with the FPS to deliver workshops and training on flexible working for its members. The FPS identified that the lack of flexible working in the industry has created structural barriers to attracting, retaining and progressing a more diverse workforce, specifically in terms of gender. Timewise specialises in tackling such barriers and supports employers to overcome them. Having worked on projects in nursing, retail and most recently construction with Build UK, we focus on industries and role-types that are particularly hard to ‘flex’ within. And we have run projects in all these areas which have led to a better work-life balance for employees. We look forward to exploring how to do that within the geotechnical industry.”