Flex for Success - Ben Dowd talks about flexible working

FlexIn February, we pushed the boundaries of flexible working by asking the entire workforce based at our Slough HQ to work away from the office for the day. We’re pleased to say that the results didn’t just meet our expectations, they exceeded them.


Our pilot proved that that people can do their job without being confined by office walls. Flexible working can drive productivity, further sustainability aims and benefit employees all at the same time. And with the right planning, organisations can protect themselves from disruptions to their businesses – particularly important in light of this summer’s events.

The facts speak for themselves. More than 2,500 people successfully worked remotely, thanks to our newly strengthened networks. Technology was inevitably right at the heart of our flexible working experiment, enabling those who needed to get online and communicate to do so. This included using the network to share documents, discussing projects over Instant Messaging and hosting meetings via our Microsoft Lync system – along with a host of other activities!

But amongst the distractions of the world outside the office, was our workforce able to concentrate? In fact, our results show that 88% of staff said they were at least as productive as on a normal day at the office, and 36% even said they found themselves being more productive than usual!

Time normally spent commuting was put to good use too, with employees spending more time with their families, relaxing by playing sport or reading, or enjoying a welcome lie-in. Avoiding their normal commute meant staff saved on their bus, train or petrol fares, amounting collectively to £9,000. The empty car park also hinted at another saving – approximately 12.2t of CO2 was saved on the day, the equivalent of driving 42,000 miles in a medium-sized diesel car.

We wanted our day to prove that flexible working isn’t all about narrow policies and practices, it’s something we can and should all be benefiting from – now. As well as educating people about the future of work, we’re also sharing the benefits of our experience with other businesses so that they too can start thinking about how to inject a little flexibility into the average working day.

To see our full results, and to learn how you too could benefit from flexible working practices, go to our website.