The University of Suffolk named in top 30 family-friendly workplaces in the UK

Rik Bond, University of Suffolk

Rik Bond, University of Suffolk - Credit: Archant

The University of Suffolk has been named in the Top 30 of National Employers for Working Families.

The benchmark covers all aspects of workplace agility and flexibility and how employers support the work-life balance of all their staff, and particularly of parents and carers, across the organisation.

It highlights organisations that are keen to reap the bottom line benefits of an agile and engaged workforce. The awards identify those progressive employers who recognise and leverage the powerful links between flexibility and agile working, emotional engagement, well-being, and high-performance.

The University of Suffolk was named alongside long established firms and organisations such as American Express, Ministry of Justice and Lloyds Banking Group.

Teresa Steward, head of HR projects, who is leading on this initiative, said: “Earlier this year the university became a member of Working Families. In May we completed a lengthy application process to give us an opportunity to benchmark against other organisations nationally, including other universities to help us understand what we are doing well and what we might want to address to further develop our flexible working practices, embedding flexibility, across the institution.”

“To be named in the Top 30 is a phenomenal result, particularly as we are in our first year of membership. This demonstrates that we have good foundations in place to support our commitment to work-life balance for all for which we can build upon.”

The university encourages a work-life balance through several initiatives which include family friendly policies, some of which go beyond statutory requirements, to help staff balance the demands of work and personal life; related health promotion campaigns to build awareness on support available; and a new informal Family Network has been established providing an opportunity for staff and students with a range of caring responsibilities to come together sharing experiences and helping the University develop its practices and culture to support flexibility and family friendliness.

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Teresa added: “In a changing world, we continue to explore and understand the work/study-life balance challenges which exist with staff and students, working closely with our Students’ Union, to strengthen our employment and study offer and therefore our position as an employer and education provider of choice.”

Richard Lister, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Suffolk, said “We are very pleased to be recognised as a leading employer for working families. We will continue to develop, improve and demonstrate that we can do this in the context of a successful, competitive business.”

Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families, said “Congratulations to the employers, all building truly flexible, agile workplaces fit for the future. This year, more than nine out of ten organisations told us that their senior leaders support flexibility and more than half reported that they include flexibility and family-friendly working in their values or mission statement. What we need now is for flexibility to become part of ‘business as usual’, reflected in strategic planning, recruitment, project management, organisational policies and everything in between.”

Winners were announced at the Working Families Conference held in London on October 4, 2016.

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