Austin Fraser talk to us about the positive impact of flexible working

Our Flexified companies are leading the way when it comes to flexible working environments. The team at Austin Fraser have taken a flexible approach to everything - not just working from home! Hannah Howe, HRD, tells us about why it's important to them to embrace flexible working in every sense.

1st Apr 2021

This time last year we had just gone into our first national lockdown, we were forced to close our offices and work from home with no time to really prepare. Austin Fraser has offices in the UK, Germany & the USA, we closed them all and, like everybody else, embarked on a completely new way of working. We thought it was short term and that we would be back to ‘normal’ in no time at all. Fast forward 12 months and here we are, still working remotely but now this is our new normal and the way we work has changed forever.

The pandemic provided us with the catalyst to change our approach to flexible work. As a sales business we had some flexibility but it was treated as a benefit that you earned as you progressed, and even then, for the majority it didn’t feel like something you could really embrace. There had always been a level of nervousness that if we provided flexibility then people would abuse it. The reality couldn’t have been more different, being forced to move to an entirely remote model had a hugely positive impact on our business from a wellbeing and engagement perspective, which over time has increased productivity and output. 

As a leadership team we could see that people were embracing this change throughout the first few months of lockdown, so we went out and asked for their views and opinions. The overwhelming majority preferred the flexibility and didn’t want to return to a largely office based environment. Interestingly though, it wasn’t so much about people wanting to work remotely or in the office but more about people being given a choice. In response to this we launched Flex Appeal, our people can now work from wherever suits them, whenever suits them! We trust that they know what they need to do to get the job done and to fit their contracted hours into their week, but other than that, they are completely free to choose how they do it. 

The results have been phenomenal, in December we recorded our best ever sales month in 12 years of trading and we are about to smash that record following an incredible March. Not only that, our people have better balance, are more engaged and we are attracting more talent than we ever have before. 

The success of Flex Appeal encouraged us to look at our other policies to make sure that we were living by our new Flexible approach wherever possible. Building on our foundation of trust, in January we launched Flex Away, our version of an Unlimited Holiday policy - so our people can now be 100% flexible both in and out of work. If they need a break, they take one and then when they come back they can fit their work around their lives and not the other way around, how refreshing is that!

If you'd like to read more about Austin Fraser, check out their company page here.