Three Hull-based infrastructure and construction sector businesses have been recognised for their positive approach to flexible working ahead of their move to new offices in the city.
Pagabo, Sypro and Social Profit Calculator welcomed Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow secretary of state for the future of work, to the companies’ soon-to-open new office space.
Rayner spoke with staff from the three companies on the key learnings and takeaways from how they have been working throughout the pandemic and in the days since social distancing restrictions were lifted.
The visit formed part of the Labour Party’s unveiling of plans to make flexible working a force for good and fundamentally change working practices for the better through the right to flexible working, which includes flexible hours, compressed hours, staggered hours and flexibility around childcare and caring responsibilities.
Like many other businesses across the UK, the pandemic has seen major changes balancing working from home with working from the company office. This has led to discussions on what facilities are needed to be added or adapted, and which are no longer required for a modern way of working, all of which has been incorporated in the designs for the organisations’ new offices in central Hull.
The former HSBC building on Whitefriargate is set to be home to the three businesses. The refurbished building will feature individual and shared workspaces, excellent broadband connectivity, meeting room facilities suitable for video conferencing and podcast sound booths.
Gerard Toplass, who heads up the three companies, said: “The pandemic has been a humbling period for all of us, but one of the reminders it has given us is that our employees will always be our greatest asset and we respect that everyone's preferences are unique. We must continue to facilitate flexible working conditions that will allow individuals to lead fulfilling professional and personal lives - something we urge other businesses to remember are not mutually exclusive.
“We have to also ensure that we are adapting to meet the expectations around flexible working. We know that it is more important to most employees than ever before – and especially so for younger team members. These people are ultimately the future of our workforce, so it is crucial that we meet their expectations to keep the talent we need, where we need it.
“Flexible working is not just about working from home, which is why we have invested in new offices in the heart of Hull. Our new home has a mix of high-tech workspaces and relaxed social spaces so that we can interact in the appropriate environment when we are choosing to not work from home. We believe that it is particularly fitting that one of Hull’s oldest streets is now leading the way in the future of working and putting the great people of this city first.”
Emma Hardy MP, who represents Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, said: “I have been speaking in Parliament for some time now about the potential we have here in Hull and East Riding and how remote working means people can work from home and online without having to leave the area. The possibility of someone working in Hull for companies across the UK has never been better.
“No longer will we need to leaving family, friends, and the area to pursue better careers, and with greater affordability than in other cities such as London means a far better quality of life can be had here in Hull and the surrounding area.
“These plans will also enhance gender equality by allowing parents to work at home without losing out by not being in the workplace. This, alongside calls for flexible hours to work around school runs and other family responsibilities will bring much-needed improvements to people’s work life balance.”