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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 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, Flex-Ability in Nursing, sees us defining what flexible working means in the NHS. We are exploring the barriers to flexible nursing roles, and designing and piloting ways to overcome them. The project is due to be completed in the summer of 2019.

    Further reading Flexible working in the NHS: the case for action

  • 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.

  • 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 will see us working with Now Teach and two secondary schools to explore options for increasing flexibility within teaching. Our aim is to identify the issues that stand in the way, and recommend steps to overcome them. Our report will be published in June 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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