Five experts reveal reasons why the smart working revolution must remain, with a blueprint of how to embed it.

At Flexibility Matters November 13th ‘Action learning Group’, Emma Cleary, founder of recruitment agency Flexibility Matters, host, David Blackburn, Chief People Officer for the FSCS and four key flexible working influencers, revealed how their businesses have adapted and evolved in response to COVID 19 regulations to propel remote and flexible working to the point where it is now a business driver, embedded in their business culture and clearly here to stay.

David Blackburn, who three years earlier had made every job at the FSCS flexible and as a result lost no days of production during the pandemic, believes Flexible Working is not a problem to solve but a benefit to embrace. Jane Galloway, Head of Flexible Working for the NHS, finds that giving staff permission to access flexible options makes a massive difference to engagement, which makes a difference to patient care.

Dagmar Albers, UK Lead on Diversity & Inclusion at Pfizer, found that using a graduate army of flexible working cheerleaders was a highly effective way to filter the benefits through the business.  And Dr Robert Coles of The Roffey Park Institute, saw that those able to think radically and deal with uncertainty came to the fore during the pandemic and using them to enable others defined their success.

Jessica Hornsby, Business Psychologist from Thales, saw many assumptions smashed by COVID-19, the most impactful being how few roles ‘have’ to be office based. At Thales, the term ‘smart’ working has replaced flexible working to reflect this fundamental shift in outlook. Here are our expert’s top ways to embed smart working into any size business.


  • Empower teams to think creatively about how to achieve what’s required of them via a collaboratively born team charter or pact.
  • Nurture the smart working renegades, keeping them central, to influence and continue to drive the cultural change.


  • Recruit, retain, and train for management with a flexible mindset, providing them with the emotional intelligence needed to facilitate smart working from a position of ‘YES’.
  • Track results and outcomes, not hours, as the way to measure productivity & performance.
  • Engage with employee’s ‘whole-selves’, allowing space to ask, and mean – “Are you OK?”


  • Optimise tech capabilities to become a digital business in every way: E-rostering, plug and play facilities, cloud-based technology, boosted Wi Fi, smart working learning portals on intranets, online meetings as default – good for the budget and environment.


  • Re-define office spaces to be where business collaboration takes place and social connection happens, ensuring the remote environment is optimised for productivity.

Over 70 businesses dialled in to listen to the webinar, with one participant commenting, “This was the best webinar I have attended during the pandemic (and I have attended quite a few). The speakers were all OUTSTANDING. Thank you for inviting me to listen and learn”.

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