Flexibility rules! Even on construction sites. Sir Robert McAlpine finds a solution to flexible working.  


Feedback from two trials to establish if flexible working can work on construction sites has been overwhelmingly positive according to Sir Robert McAlpine. The firm was determined to show that the modern way of working was not limited to office-based staff as well as those working from home.

The two trials, one at its Riverside scheme – an office job in Sunderland, the other at a project at the Shepperton Studios in Surrey revealed, after initial consultations with employees that they were keen to continue working full-time on site, but with adjusted hours.

At Riverside they elected to work longer hours from Monday to Thursday, enabling them to finish at lunchtime on a Friday. Employees reported that the flexibility gave them the opportunity for self-care, extra time for childminding responsibilities and allowed them to properly recharge their batteries. The arrangements have now been left in place as they worked so well.

At Shepperton they chose to trial one flex day every three weeks and implement working from home for more operational roles. They also introduced a “flex-buddy” system, which partnered each employee up with another member of the site team who was then responsible for the other’s key functions when the “buddy” was taking a flex day. The trial has been extended at Shepperton for a further six months.

While flexible working is now part-and-parcel of everyday working life for many of us, for those in construction it was deemed nigh on impossible. But, with the right flexible working policies which are inclusive and cater for every individual, in every region and role, it can work. The two trials by Sir Robert McAlpine show that with a bit of planning and trust, any worries of a drop in productivity can be alleviated and a happier workforce can be obtained.