Flexible Working In Practice

When HR specialist Andreya Ashwell was looking for a new role, senior positions available on a part time basis were like gold dust. So the flexibility available at Robinson Manufacturing for an HR lead was very attractive.

“Having children shouldn’t limit what anyone can achieve. Having the back-up of friends and family at home is vital to juggling work and other responsibilities, but it is so much easier to succeed at home and at work with the trust and support of your employer,” explained Andreya. “There is need for flexibility at all levels – and the rewards for parents and employers justify the effort.”

There are lots of versions of flexible working at Robinson Manufacturing. For some staff, it means working reduced or condensed hours to ensure that school pick-ups are covered.

However, shorter hours aren’t always easy to accommodate in an operational or manufacturing context.  For one of the teams at our Wellingborough factory, when family changes meant a member of staff needed to be able to finish half an hour early on a regular basis, the whole team agreed to change their start and finish times to make sure their colleague could continue in his role. That really is flexible working in practice!

There is a large amount of trust required for a business to start considering a more flexible approach to a working week, but the rewards for a business in terms of staff retention and loyalty are worth the effort. Robinson Manufacturing is always honest and transparent in its approach and – while we may not yet be able to offer flexible working in every instance – we are making great strides in improving the flexibility employees can expect from us where operationally possible.

And it’s not just the hours. Andreya is also aware of the emotional impact caring responsibilities can have on employees. “Kids can be draining, but at the other end of the spectrum, caring for elderly relatives can also take a massive toll on an employee’s wellbeing. As employers, it’s our job to be aware of these external forces, and make sure we support wherever possible.”

“The other area of flexibility that has not yet had enough publicity is the availability of shared parental leave, but that’s another story,” said Andreya, whose third child is due on 8th June and is about to start maternity leave. “I’m looking forward to it, but equally, I’m looking forward to returning when the time is right.”