Flexible working provisions have been shown to lead to a massive improvement in wellbeing among construction workers, with no measurable effects on project budgets or deadlines, according to a new study.
PCB Today reports that research by flexible working consultants Timewise has found that flexible working options increased the number of workers who found they had more time to be able to look after their own health and wellbeing from 48 to 84 per cent – a 75 per cent increase.
At the same time, the percentage of workers who admitted to working beyond their contracted hours fell from 51 to 43 per cent and those who said they felt guilty for starting or finishing later than their colleagues fell from 47 to 33 per cent.
There was also an increase in the trust in colleagues who were working remotely, and the number of workers who felt unsure if remote colleagues were working as hard as them from home decreased from 48 per cent to 33 per cent.
The findings are the results of the Timewise Construction Pioneers programme, through which the flexible working consultancy worked with Build UK and four of the UK’s biggest construction companies to pilot different forms of flexibility.
These pilot schemes included earlier starts and finished, output-based working, staggered start times, and a ‘flexi-day’ approach, where workers were permitted to take a day off in lieu of any additional hours worked.
The study found that all of the projects were completed without any detrimental impact on deadlines or budgets.
Emma Stewart, director of development at Timewise, said the programme proved ‘beyond doubt’ that flexible working worked even in complex, site-based industries such as construction.
“Wellbeing and balance should be possible to achieve for the whole workforce – not just those in office roles,” said Stewart. “Working practices no longer need to be a block to attracting the best and most diverse possible talent,” she said.
The report did highlight that because of the ‘complex operational barriers’ faced by sectors such as construction, firms looking to implement flexible working needed have in place a strategic roadmap.
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