Government flexible working

Challenging times

Government departments and public service authorities are facing challenges. Difficult economic circumstances are leading to tighter budgets at the same time an ageing population is creating a greater demand for services. Meanwhile, the public and businesses are increasingly demanding to be able to access local council and national government information more flexibly.

With these challenges come opportunities to make changes that can motivate and empower employees, improve their work-life balance, boost productivity and reduce costs. Our Better ways of working team undertook a project with the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to try and capitalise on those opportunities.

Understanding working practices

Before we could recommend a solution, we needed to understand how people at each department currently worked and how they would like to work in the future. We found that employees were frustrated by an increased workload and inefficient working practices, cumbersome IT systems, processes and security. They also felt that office environments were not conducive to interacting with each other. Managers were struggling with the need to deliver the same or greater workloads with reduced resources and executives were concerned about the lack of creativity.

Our solution included rolling out a flexible working policy and getting rid of under-used fixed desks. We introduced training for employees and managers in the practical steps involved in making sure flexibility works, and helped teams make the most of existing technology and equipment to deliver immediate improvements. With the support of the Better ways of working team, both departments have begun to mobilise their employees and can see a future that includes cost savings, increased efficiency and an empowered workforce.