How we are evaluating flexible working arrangements for older workers.
Since 2019, we have been working with the Centre for Ageing Better (CfAB), Timewise Foundation, and two leading employers – Guys & St Thomas’ Trust (GSTT) and Legal & General (L&G) – to evaluate a Flexible Working Pilot project for older workers (loosely defined as 50+).
With interest in learning more about how best to enable fairer access to flexible working for older workers, the pilot aimed to work with and support GSTT and L&G, to increase availability and take-up of more flexible working arrangements. It involved trialling changes to the working patterns of a cohort of older workers in both organisations, with Timewise providing support and guidance for them and their line managers. The pilot took place between November 2018 and February 2020 (therefore before Covid-19).
The evaluation set out to understand ‘what works’ in implementing and facilitating access to flexible working, for which people, and in what kinds of situations; and to explore the individual and organisational factors that support success.
A core element of the work was to undertake two rounds of in-depth interviews with pilot participants in both organisations. Halfway through the evaluation, Covid-19 took hold, generating significant change as most pilot participants moved to working from home, with some making additional changes to their working patterns. The evaluation took place within the vastly changed context and the resulting lockdowns.
With the continued engagement of all involved, we expanded our remit beyond the focus on the flexible working routines adopted during the pilot or their impacts. The evaluation became an opportunity to explore not only what had changed because of the pilot, but also what impact the pandemic had on peoples’ chosen flexible working arrangements, how they had changed and what effect it had on their lives. Additionally, we sought to understand what impact Covid-19 had on working practices in both organisations beyond the pilot.
UPDATE: The final evaluation report that has been published is available for downloading and you can find further information on the
Centre for Ageing Better’s website.
For further information please contact:
Senior Researcher / Consultant
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations