Initiative follows trials carried out with specialist workplace consultant
Bam is introducing flexible working on its construction sites in a set of sweeping post-pandemic changes to its working practices which the firm has hailed as marking a “major mind-set change” for the industry.
The firm behind Sky’s planned £190m Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire is pushing through with initiatives such as rota working, staggered start and finish times, part-time work and remote working where possible.
The shake-up follows the completion of a trial of site working practices begun in 2019 with flexible working consultants Timewise and industry body Build UK.
Bam said the approach had been given “huge momentum” because of changes to ways of working required during lockdown restrictions.
It said the new policy “will have benefits for both its own people and the rest of the industry long after the pandemic subsides”.
The contractor’s UK executive and HR director Andrea Singh said there had been a “shift in mindset across our business,” adding that the firm’s “default position now is that flexibility is possible and desirable, and to prioritise a devolved, team-based decision-making culture”.
She added: “I think the industry was starting to wake up to it pre-covid but I think what covid has done is create huge momentum because I think, whilst none of us would have wanted to be in the situation we’ve been in for the last 12 months, it forced different types of flexibility.”
She told Building that part of the shift is about “moving towards more of an output-based thinking rather than the number of hours you’re tied to your desk.
“Years ago in all industries being the first to open the gate and the last to leave the gate was almost a badge of honour. That’s not sustainable on an individual level, that’s not sustainable as an industry.”
But she added that for the approach to really make a difference it would need to be adopted by the whole supply chain: “If you’ve got the whole chain working in that way then there is that real opportunity for productivity to increase.”
Asked if the approach had created challenges in ensuring on site safety, Singh said: “I think it’s always one of the key considerations in what flexibility can be achieved.
“People who are based on site, a large proportion of their time is spent supervising works on site, supervising teams on site but like anybody there’s an element of admin and back office type work in every role and so some of that lends itself to a more flexible approach.”
Bam is set to start work shortly on the £350m Co-Op Live indoor music and sports arena which is being built in the shadow of Manchester City’s Etihad stadium for US firm Oak View Group.