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Wellbeing and you in 2019

Improving staff wellbeing: our experience of agile working arrangements 

Here at the Growth Company, we’re committed to improving the wellbeing support which we offer to our staff. Earlier this year, we made one our biggest changes as an organisation, with the introduction of agile working back in March.

What is agile working?

For us, agile working gives our staff more flexibility around when, where and how they work. Under our agile working arrangements, our people can work their contracted hours any time between 7am and 7pm, as long as business needs are taken into consideration. This includes being able to work remotely.

Why we decided to introduce agile working 

By 2021, it’s believed that 79% of all organisations will be working towards, or implementing, agile working practices. This is because they recognise its ability to help improve business performance, client satisfaction and employee wellbeing.

We conducted a lot of research into how agile working could not only benefit our business strategy, but also our people. This included looking at other employers such as Cheshire West and Chester Council, Adidas and PWC to see what they were doing in terms of their working policies, as well as benchmarking ourselves against external partners. From doing this, it was a clear that agile would be a win-win initiative.

While the main drivers behind our decision to implement agile working were based around boosting productivity, bettering our services, reducing costs and futureproofing the organisation, it’s clear that there has been another positive to come out of the change – and that’s improving the wellbeing of our people.

How it supports better wellbeing

Agile gives our staff the opportunity to work in a way that best suits their work commitments. We appreciate that the typical 9-5 routine isn’t for everyone, and dictating when and where people should work isn’t conducive to high levels of productivity and wellbeing.

Our more flexible approach to working helps our people to achieve a better work-life balance. Whether they want to manage their working day around the school drop-off, avoid the stress of commuting or simply have more time to exercise, relax and spend time with their family, they’re free to do so. It also makes it much easier to fit medical appointments around work, reducing the need for staff to come in ‘late’ or leave ‘early’.

The impact it’s having on wellbeing

Just six months in, we’re already seeing the positive impact that agile is having on our staff. Our recent Investors in People report highlighted how many people feel that the introduction of agile working has allowed them to enhance their work-life balance and wellbeing. The report commended our proactive approach to inclusivity and wellbeing, highlighting it as one of our key strengths across the Group.

As part of our Investors in People assessment, a cross-section of employees were interviewed by an assessor. Many interviewees felt that they had had, or could have, very honest and constructive conversations with their line manager about their performance and challenges. They included sensitive issues like mental health, personal relationships or bereavements. This has meant that we have been able to make adjustments to work commitments or provide additional support where needed.

Other steps we’re taking

Of course, it takes more than just flexible working arrangements to encourage good wellbeing and mental health. That’s why we offer a wide range of benefits and initiatives to keep our people happy and healthy.

Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides our staff with round-the-clock support on a wide-range of issues. Through this, staff can also access counselling sessions to help them overcome whatever problems they might be facing.

We’ve introduced a series of training courses and lunchtime ‘wellbeing cafés’, where staff can find out more about managing their wellbeing and develop techniques to improve their health and happiness. Mandatory sessions have also been introduced for all managers, so they can learn how to recognise the early warning signs that someone in their team might be struggling.
We’re also in the process of training a number of staff to be mental health first-aiders. The course is specifically designed to support individuals in dealing with ‘crises’ situations, giving them the confidence, knowledge and understanding of mental health problems so they can support and guide colleagues appropriately.

I know that wellbeing is one of the topics that will be front and centre as we continue to develop our people strategy, and I’ve no doubt that the support and resources that we offer to our staff will go from strength to strength.

I’m unbelievably proud to work for an organisation that takes mental health and wellbeing so seriously, and we’re privileged to be in a position where we can encourage and influence other organisations to do the same. We’ll also be sharing more information on how agile has benefitted us from a business perspective in the near future.

If you’re interested in being part of our agile culture, take a look at our careers page for all our latest opportunities.


Lee House
90 Great Bridgewater Street
M1 5JW


Phone: 0161 228 1111                    


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