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How to make FlexWork work

22 January 2020

Woman and child

At Zurich, we know that a culture that encourages and supports flexible working benefits both our business and our employees. Over 10% of our UK employees work part-time and we have empowered all our people to embrace agile working.

Earlier this year we changed how our vacancies would be advertised moving forward, with every role made available on a part-time, job-share or full-time basis. In addition, our current employees were also given the ability to ask if:

  • They can change the days they work
  • They can change the hours/times they work
  • They can work from home (either for all or part of the week)
  • They can change to part-time, job-share or full-time.

Steve Collinson, Head of HR at Zurich UK, told Insurance Business Magazine “It’s very clear from our perspective that too few women rise to the top of insurance organisations, either in senior leadership roles or in senior technical roles”.

“So, to see a really big increase (25% increase in female applicants) and getting towards 50/50 balance in your recruitment funnel gives everybody the best chance of tackling things like the gender pay gap and the fact that there are too few women in senior roles.”

In addition to the increase in applications, 72% of UK employees currently already take advantage of Zurich’s flexible working policy, FlexWork, allowing people to choose when, where and how they work (for example, starting an hour earlier or later to avoid morning traffic).

How to make FlexWork work

According to research from Hydrogen and My Family Care, 81% of workers in the UK look for flexible working options when researching new jobs, and over half would rather have flexible working opportunities than a 5% pay rise. With such a strong demand for flexibility at work nowadays, it is important for companies to consider how they can make it work for them.

Whilst the internal benefits of flexible working are clear to see, the financial services sector could also benefit clients and customers with it too. Being open outside of the ‘regular 9-5’, means that customers have extended access to services such as broker advice, which they may otherwise struggle to access if they, too, work the same hours.

One way to ensure availability is extended, without staff working longer hours, is shift patterns. With it becoming increasingly common now for offices to be full before 9am, and beyond 5pm, shift patterns can extend those hours and allow for more flexibility in how clients can contact you without the need for longer days by staff.

Tips to make FlexWork work:

  • Establish champions in your business, senior leaders who advocate flexible working help to create an environment where everyone is comfortable in taking part themselves
  • Consider your customers So if you are of most use to them outside of the standard working hours, how can you change to help them?
  • Home and remote access where possible make flexible working easier to achieve. If you have the ability to perform part, or all of your role, outside the office it means flexible working is easier to achieve.
  • Judge staff on production and not attendance. Encouraging an environment in which staff are judged solely on work and not how long they are in the office is a great way to advocate flexible working.

To discuss any aspect of this article further, please speak to your local Zurich contact.

Image © Getty