Multiplex targets women with flexible working

Multiplex (UK) has joined the ranks of major contractors adopting flexible working programmes.

Multiplex Flex is designed to address structural issues linked to gender equity, improving health and wellbeing as well as driving improved overall performance and productivity.

The contractor hopes that it will increase the number of women across its UK business, and encourage them to stay with the company longer to rise higher up the ranks.

A range of flexible working options will be available for Multiplex’s current UK workforce of 825, of which 21% are female. Options include flexi-time, early Friday finishes, weekend time off in lieu, nine-day fortnight (compressed hours), teleworking and four-day weeks, in addition to remote working.

They have all been trialled and evaluated over the last six months on live projects by Multiplex, assisted by flexible working consultancy Timewise.

Multiplex’s project at The Broadway in Westminster, London, a mixed-use redevelopment of the former New Scotland Yard building by Northacre, was one of the three project pilots, where all the flexible working options were tried. Multiplex Flex was also piloted at head office in London and a University of Glasgow project.

The project surveys captured informal flexible working arrangements already agreed with managers, enabling this data to form part of the research, which was subsequently evaluated and discussed by 15 staff focus groups. The objective here was to optimise team-based solutions that work for all, on a site-by-site basis, rather than focusing on HR and contractual considerations. It adopts a blend of informal and formal options, determined at a team level to optimise work patterns ‘to promote accessibility, inclusivity and equity’.

The three Flex pilots revealed that those allowed to work flexibly saw a significant improvement in their work life balance and felt less stressed. Men were better able to support their partners with domestic chores and school runs. There were no apparent negative impacts on project programme, productivity or budgets.

Multiplex’s experience appears identical to that of other major contractors with whom Timewise has worked.

Read more at The Construction Index.