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National Award for MHA Larking Gowen Flexible Working Initiative

A ground-breaking flexible working initiative from Chartered Accountants, MHA Larking Gowen, has this month received national recognition from Working Families – an organisation encouraging flexible and employee-friendly work places across the UK.

Named national winners of the Working Families Best Practice Award for Best Flexible Working, the award establishes the East Anglian-based accountancy and business advisory group at the forefront of new thinking on the relationship between employers, employees, and their work.

“We are proud to have won the Working Families Best Practice Award for Best Flexible Working initiative”, says Amanda Ninham, Head of HR at MHA Larking Gowen who, along with her team and a pilot group, developed the programme, “the ability to flex around our people’s daily demands supports our wellbeing commitment, and we’re delighted that our approach is recognised as best practice in the UK.”

The company’s flexible working initiative, which included an office redesign to incorporate quiet space, hot desks, and collaborative working space, was developed through consultation with the pilot group, and followed a successful trial.

“Over a third of our employees now work flexibly,” continues Amanda Ninham, “employee surveys show greater levels of happiness and engagement. Agile working options include flexitime, compressed, part-time and annualised hours, term-time working, remote working, and alternative office spaces.” Amanda Ninham says that the benefits to both our people and the business have been profound. “employee sickness and unplanned absences have dropped, so has the need for costly overtime and time-off-in-lieu, and benefits have been seen in an increase to chargeable time. We encourage teams to meet once a month, use internet and Bluetooth technology to support communication between team members, and have a social fund to develop stronger team bonds. In addition, we continue to get positive feedback from clients, as well as new recruits,” she concludes.

Emma Arthurton, a manager at MHA Larking Gowen, is one of the employees to benefit from the award-winning approach. “I work part-time annualised hours, so instead of worrying about hitting a set number of hours a week I have an annual target and can decide my working pattern. Generally, I work term-time and have school holidays off. It takes careful planning to ensure I can still meet clients’ needs and I make sure it works. This is the most important part of my employment. It’s worth far more to me than money.”

“I congratulate MHA Larking Gowen, and all the winners of this year’s Best Practice Awards,” says Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families, “We applaud all the employers recognised for taking creative approaches to embedding flexibility, building supportive cultures, and listening to and learning from their employees.”

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