Construction giant commits to normalising flex

Sir Robert McAlpine boss Paul Hamer sets out vision of flexible revolution and points up wellbeing benefits

Construction worker smiles to camera

 

The construction industry needs to find a way to normalise flexible working. That’s the message from Sir Robert McAlpine boss Paul Hamer.

The construction giant were behind the recent Forever Flex report that looked at attitudes to flexible working and how the pandemic has changed them. Research for that report found two thirds of construction firms want to retain remote working or flexitime regimes that they introduced in reaction to lockdown.

However the sector has long struggled with the disconnect between what it wants to offer and the practicalities of construction.

Challenges

Writing in Construction News Paul Hamer explicitly linked flexible working to improved wellbeing among the overwhelmingly male workforce. He said, “At Sir Robert McAlpine, we understand that a shift towards greater flexible working will not be without its challenges, given the reality of onsite demands. Yet, we also recognise the enormous potential it holds to boost both professional and personal enrichment whilst enabling people to strike a much-needed healthier work-life balance.

“When we consider some of the pressing issues we are tackling as an industry – most notably the tragically high rate of male suicide, which has shown very little year-on-year improvement despite best efforts – the value of flexible working policies simply cannot be overlooked. The current COVID-19 crisis has brought us to a decisive turning point, and there really is no turning back.”

Determination

Hamer offered an optimistic take and determination to oversee change. He added, “For too long, flexible working has been seen as a luxury; simply another perk in a long list of potential employee benefits with less importance attached to its immeasurable wellbeing value. With the emotional, social and financial repercussions of the pandemic weighing heavy on all our minds and further exacerbating the pre-existing mental health crisis, it is high time we switch up the ‘flex’ conversation.

“Admittedly, this cannot be achieved overnight. But, by making a concerted effort to facilitate the shift from the ‘accidental’ flex that we witnessed at the start of the pandemic to ‘true’ flex through strategic design and implementation of policies tailored to the needs of our workforces, we will all begin to sow the seeds for change and collectively take the first important steps towards changing the way we work for good.”





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