A tight labour market is
putting increasing pressure on employers to offer staff flexible working
arrangements, according to Lloyds TSB’s senior manager for equal opportunities.
Jon Whiteley told delegates at a Roffey
Park seminar on work-life balance that the bank had introduced its Work Options
scheme in April 1999 in order to attract and retain its workforce in a
He explained, “If we lose a senior
manager it will cost about £45,000 in terms of recruitment and training to
“Employees are increasingly saying
they have only one life and they want to enjoy it. There has been a shift away
from the long hours and presenteeism culture of the 1980s and 1990s.”
Whiteley said that if the rate of
women returning to work at Lloyds TSB after the end of the maternity period
dropped from its current level of 86 per cent to 76 per cent it would cost the
bank £1.5 million a year.
He added, “Work Options is
available to everybody. It is a business-focused policy that enables the
individual and the bank to work in partnership to match the needs of the
individual to the needs of the business.
“We want to make sure flexible
working is not just seen as a women’s issue. Managers and men are encouraged to
Options include reduced hours
working, job share, compressed working week, variable working hours and working
from home but Whiteley stressed these are not set in stone and staff are
encouraged to think creatively.
At present 28 per cent of the bank’s
staff benefit from some sort of flexible working arrangement and Whiteley is
optimistic this will increase to more than a third over the next two years.
“The tight labour market is a big
issue for a lot of employers competing for scarce resources. Being able to
offer effective flexible working options does have a direct impact on the
bottom line and cost,” he said.
By Ben Willmott