The company is encouraging people across its offices and sites to experiment with different working patterns that “improve their working life.”
Construction teams at Wates have been piloting the approach with individuals changing their shift start or end times to accommodate family responsibilities or extra time for activities such as studying or team sports that promote health and wellbeing.
Some staff have asked to take longer lunch breaks or to perform more of their work from home.
David Allen, Chief Executive at Wates Group, said: “As a family business, we are committed to doing everything we can to help colleagues achieve a better work-life balance. The pandemic challenged us to work in different ways and to adapt.
We learned a lot about how to work flexibly, and about how doing so can improve productivity, performance, health and happiness.
“We have listened to feedback from colleagues from across the Group and, as part of launching our Flexible Working Principles, are encouraging them to use the next few months to experiment with their working patterns: to find what works for them; to show us what they want their working life to be like in the future.
Mark Tant, Managing Director, Wates Construction said that for some, getting used to the idea of flexible working would require a ‘mind-shift’:
He said: “The pandemic has shown that we are able to work more flexibly, and more intelligently, to accommodate our colleagues’ needs and to encourage better results for our customers.
“However, if our industry is to become more inclusive, it is fundamental that we continue to break down ingrained cultures and adopt new approaches that allow us to appeal to a more diverse workforce.
“As one of the first companies in the sector to open up flexible working to our whole business, we hope to lead the change to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to thrive, by adopting the working patterns that best suit them.”
Wates’ Flexible Working Principles were introduced in response to feedback from staff, which highlighted that almost 90% of people would prefer a mix of home working and office working in the future.
As well as launching flexible working, Wates has announced that all its non-site offices will operate on a flexible basis, with employees able to book workstations via an online system.