Page 2: The changing work environment
A typical worker in early 20th Century industry would “clock in” and “clock out” of work. A mechanical device recorded the start and finish times for every individual worker. The traditional work pattern was based on a fixed 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. working day. Traditionally, workers were paid weekly wages based on an hourly rate given for the job. Management and professional roles tended to be paid monthly salaries. However, the common factor in everyone”s working life in the past was an agreed fixed start time and finish time.
More recently, there have been many social and economic changes which make such fixed work arrangements difficult or inappropriate. In the 21st Century, more and more women are working and people, in general, live longer. There is now a basic expectation that all employees are treated equally. These demographic and social trends place enormous pressure on those with family responsibilities, especially women, although recent research has shown that fathers also want to play a more active role in bringing up their children. In 2003, the Flexible Working Regulations came into force in the UK. These regulations give employees looking after young or disabled children the right to request flexible working arrangements from their employer.
In 2007, the government extended this right to request flexible working arrangements to carers of other dependents, such as spouses, partners, relatives, or someone living at the same address as the employee. But from the outset, Lloyds TSB has offered flexible “work options” to all of its staff and put into place its own procedures to allow every member of staff, not just women with young children, the right to request to work flexibly. This makes Lloyds TSB stand out from other employers.
By 2010, it is estimated that 85% of the growth in the UK workforce will be women.
Within Lloyds TSB, 62% of its workforce is female and around 2,000 staff take maternity leave each year. Of these, around 87% return to work for the company after their leave. This is an important statistic. In a tightening labour market, businesses must attract high calibre staff and then retain their services. Lloyds TSB”s reputation on flexible working is a very important factor in achieving this.