Agile Working - Can it improve output, profits and well-being?


Total Jobs has just published the latest instalment in their study, Understanding Top Talent which has surveyed over 3,000 job seekers and 100 employers based in the UK. The report is a comprehensive and insightful overview on what benefits drive the attraction and retention of today’s candidates.

A lot of what is written in the report is reflected on the last page of our salary guide. The most striking aspect of the report for us was the emphasis on flexible working;

  • Flexible or Home working arrangements were the third most popular priority for candidates after basic salary. Only bonus and pension scored higher, with lower results for holiday allowance, car package and training
  • “A huge 81% of candidates said that they were more likely to choose an employer that offers a more flexible working package”
  • It is true that the millennial generation value flexible working the most, but the results are only marginally higher than for candidates aged between 55 and 59


Comforting for employers who offer flexibility…. A warning to those who don’t?


The term “Flexible Working” still draws a negative impression with many in the finance sector. Flexi-time, duvet days and a diminished prioritisation of work. Based on the results of the Total Jobs review, an alternative view is required. “Agile Working” is a more modern term which is a more aspirational way of creating smart working practices through;

  • Using new technology to allow people to work more efficiently and remotely. Mobile technology, clouds and hardware development being at the forefront
  • An increase in office space that supports flexible use for individuals in large companies and entrepreneurs, such as Avenue HQ in Leeds
  • A more mature relationship between employer and employee, where trust and results outweigh micro-management on processes.

“Agile working is about bringing people, processes, connectivity and technology, time and place together to find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task. It is working with guidelines (of the task) but without boundaries of how you achieve it” (Definition provided by The Agile Organisation which has been used extensively across the UK


Our people are the most important aspect of our strategy at Pratap Partnership. Setting an agile working strategy for our team has been an interesting challenge, particularly as all of our existing team started their careers with a major corporate in the late 90s or early 00s! In our short history to date, we have seen the following benefits already;

  • High levels of productivity from all of the team, both in terms of activity and results. Work has been a priority for everyone but undertaken at a time that suits the needs of our clients, candidates and ourselves.
  • Minimal levels of stress, despite the fact that we are a start-up business in a competitive sector!
  • Significantly reduced cost base without the burden of city centre office space, with all of the associated travel and parking costs (not to mention the dead time of the commute!)


Gillian McBride commented on her experience of working in an agile working environment for the first time in her 20-year career history;


“I started my career in an environment where you started work at 8.30am, finished at 6.00pm and won praise for putting in extra hours, irrespective of what you were doing! After the birth of my daughter, I dropped to a four-day week but was always working on my “day-off”. Things could not be any different now.

I am employed on a full-time contract but structure my work to fit in around the school run, my husband’s job and the needs of my clients and candidates. For the first time in my career, I can fit everything in and deliver my work effectively, support my family and still have time for the gym and running.

Having the latest technology in hardware and infrastructure in our business allows me to be agile – I can respond to situations when I am needed, and I can work at every opportunity possible.

It is a relief not to be in the office every day. It is only now and as a shareholder of our business that I can see how much time and money that wasted. I work in my home office, at the IoD  and have used a number of hotels, coffee shops & clients’ offices in Leeds and in our modern office in Doncaster (which allows me to bring my dog and kids with me if I need to)

There are so many practical benefits to this arrangement, but the psychological impact is huge. I do not feel that my work is compromising my family or vice versa – I feel that both get the best out of me”