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Recent work

Timewise carries out projects and pilots across a wide range of sectors. We research, create and deliver flexible working solutions for clients of all shapes and sizes. Here are some recent examples.

  • Tackling diversity & inclusion in the investment industry

    Extreme long hours are endemic in the high pressure world of Asset Management. But does it have to be this way?  We’re looking at whether flexible working is possible, and could build a more inclusive workforce.

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    Promoting a more inclusive culture in Asset Management

    The investment and savings profession employs more than 90,000 people. Its high-pressure culture can be prohibitive for many groups of employees. Women in particular, who do well at entry level but struggle to climb the career ladder (the gender pay gap is 31%). But also fathers of young children, older workers, and employees who develop health conditions.

    Lack of flexible working has specifically been identified as a key barrier for women trying to progress into senior roles, particularly when they have to balance work with caring responsibilities. A few pockets of good practice are emerging, but the pace of change remains slow.

    To improve access to ‘smart’ and flexible working, Timewise has started a one year programme in partnership with the Diversity Project (set up by a group of industry leaders to improve inclusivity). We will be working with a number of investment and savings firms to develop and pilot new approaches to working patterns.

  • Construction in crisis: can flex alleviate the multiple problems?

    Chronic mental health concerns. Gender stereotyping. An ageing workforce. Timewise is working with four industry partners to find out if flexible working can rise to the challenges of the construction sector.

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    Tackling work-life balance, in a world of back-to-back shifts far from home

    The construction sector is a difficult nut to crack for flexible working. Project delivery often necessitates unsociable shift times to avoid disruption to traffic or business; the mobility to work at different sites around the country; and long hours to meet profit-linked deadlines. 

    The harsh working patterns inevitably impact recruitment. Young people are not attracted to the sector – nearly half of construction workers are aged 55+. Nor are women, who make up less than 15% of the workforce. And there is a heavy toll on mental health – 1 in 4 workers have considered taking their own lives

    Action is urgently needed at sector level. So, supported by Build UK, four major construction companies (Bam Construct, Bam Nuttall, Skanska and Willmott Dixon) are partnering with Timewise. Our project will research, design and pilot new approaches, aiming to overcome the challenging working patterns.

  • Tackling the staffing crisis within nursing

    With more nurses leaving the profession than joining, we’re exploring how flexible working could help attract and keep these critical front-line employees.

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    Improving work-life balance for nurses

    The staffing crisis in the NHS has the organisation close to breaking point. Large numbers of staff are leaving, with many citing work-life balance as the main reason. Recruitment is challenging, vacancies are left unfilled and agency costs are spiralling as a result.

    Flexible working is central to tackling these issues, but introducing it is complex. Among the challenges are the need for staff across a 24-hour cycle, the shift-based nature of many NHS roles, and the need for a balance of specialties present at all times.

    Our action research project saw us exploring the barriers to improving work-life balance for nursing roles, and designing and piloting ways to overcome them. We piloted a new, team-based process for creating rosters and delivered three key recommendations for stakeholders. We published our report on this work in September 2019.

  • Building flexible working into teaching

    Schools are struggling to hold on to their teachers and to replace the ones who leave.  We’re investigating how they could use flexible working to tackle the staffing crisis.

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    Addressing shortages in the teaching profession

    It’s no secret that the teaching profession has a recruitment and retention problem. Long hours, unmanageable workloads and opportunities for better pay elsewhere are all taking their toll. As a result, many schools are struggling to achieve a full staff team.

    Clearly, schools will never be able to match corporate salaries. But what they can do is give teachers more control over their time and their work-life balance. And flexible working could be part of the solution.

    This project saw us working with Now Teach and two secondary schools to explore options for increasing flexibility within teaching. We outlined the status quo, identified key challenges and barriers, and recommended a six step process to help headteachers get started. We published our report on this work in July 2019.

  • Developing part-time apprenticeships

    The new focus on apprenticeships was designed to widen access and tackle in-work poverty. A lack of flexible options has left key groups excluded. We’re working to change that.

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    Making apprenticeships open to all

    In 2017, the government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy, to facilitate the creation of more, better apprenticeship schemes. These schemes are seen as an excellent way to bridge the gap between school and work, as well as tackling in-work poverty among key groups.

    However, many people within these groups are unable to access these schemes because they are only available on a full-time basis. This includes older workers, single parents or those with young children, and those with disabilities.

    Following initial research with the Learning and Work Institute, we are now working with Camden and Hackney councils and NW London Maternity Services to design and pilot new models for part-time apprenticeships. We will deliver our recommendations late in 2019.

  • Creating flexible pathways in retail

    The lack of flexibility in management roles can leave flexible workers trapped on the shop-floor. Our Retail Pioneer Programme seeks to explore pathways for flexible progression.

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    Helping flexible workers progress to management

    Flexibility in working hours is one of the main reasons people choose to work in retail. But while part-time and flexible roles may be available on the shop floor, the lack of similar opportunities in store management leaves many retail employees unable to progress.

    Following an initial pilot with Pets at Home, we partnered with five retailers – B&Q, Cook, Dixons Carphone, Tesco and the John Lewis Partnership to explore the issues, and create workable solutions, through our Retail Pioneer Programme.

    We started by exploring the barriers to flexibility at store management level, and then identified the strategic, cultural and operational changes needed to overcome them. Our report on this project, was published in May 2018.

  • Designing flexible schedules for carers

    Social care has a reputation for being flexible-friendly, but does the reality stack up? We’re investigating how to help care providers develop truly flexible scheduling.

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    Improving flexibility through a team based approach

    53% of the social care workforce work less than full-time. And in theory, because they’re on zero hours contracts, carers can choose both their schedules and the amount of hours they work each week. But is the job as flexible as it sounds?

    Our Caring by Design project saw us working with carers, managers and sector experts to explore what flexible working means within social care, and how it could be improved.

    We then explored structural constraints that stood in the way of true flexibility, and went on to pilot potential solutions with a community support provider. Our report on this project was published in May 2017.

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