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NCVO and ACEVO start joint project on the future of flexible working

12 Aug 2021 News

NCVO and ACEVO have launched a programme looking at the future of flexible working in the charity sector.

The project will be chaired by Becky Hewitt, former chief executive of the charity Changing Faces, who said that the pandemic had shown that charities “urgently need to change our attitude to flexible working”.

Hewitt will lead a working group of up to 10 members from the charity sector, which will report its findings later in the year.

Working boundaries blurred

Vicky Browning, chief executive of ACEVO, said: “We have been hearing a lot from members who are interested in implementing a more flexible workplace at their organisations, especially as the pandemic forced many of us into new ways of working. 

“As boundaries between the office and the home, and personal and professional are increasingly more blurred, and civil society urgently needs to be more inclusive, now is the time for sector leaders to start positive conversations and better understand what flexible working really means, what tools we need to implement it, and how to best support our colleagues.”

Sarah Vibert, the interim chief executive at NCVO, said that its members “are telling us they want to make permanent changes to working arrangements” and that she hoped the project would “encourage organisations to engage staff openly in conversations around formalising flexible working”.

Hewitt said that during her time as a charity chief executive she “heard from so many in the sector who were concerned about balancing work with their role as parents, as carers, or with supporting their own physical or mental health”.  

Recruitment to the working group will take place in partnership with the firm Starfish Search, and will close next month.

Charity workers want flexibility

Writing for Civil Society Media in May, Lynda Thomas, the chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said that her charity would be extending its existing flexible working offer to staff after “it became clear that making flexible working the rule rather than the exception will be a big step forward in our journey to make us a truly inclusive employer”.

Recent research by Blackbaud Europe and the Resource Alliance showed that nine out of 10 charity workers wanted flexible working to continue long-term after Covid-19, and 43% said that they would never apply for a job that was entirely office-based. 

However, around 70% said that working from home involved longer hours and undermined the distinction between their private and professional lives.

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