One of Bristol’s most high-profile marketing and communications agencies has launched a new culture of flexible working and a recruitment drive to fill it. Proctor + Stevenson (Proctors) has spent the past three months working with consultants and recruiters Flexology to design new flexible ways of working for the company’s 70 staff.

The new culture follows a programme of work at a leadership and team level run by Flexology’s founder and co-director Kristal McNamara. The aim is to improve retention and productivity at Proctors, giving employees more autonomy to manage their own time and workload.

Staff will be able to set their own working hours, for example coming in early or late to improve their commute, by extending their lunch breaks or by working from home more often.

Monthly measurements will review and monitor Proctors’ new system, with continual improvements implemented through an agile approach of quick, regular changes, if necessary.

In the meantime, Flexology will work on a recruitment drive to fill available positions at Proctors with new staff attracted by the appeal of a more fluid working culture.

It’s the latest cutting-edge development for Proctors, which was started in 1979 by founder and managing director Roger Proctor and today counts major corporates including Panasonic, BMW and Saudi Arabian Airlines among its client base.

In February last year, the company moved into a new home, following a £1.5 million refurbishment of a former industrial printworks in Easton Road, Bristol.

Sustainability measures on the upgraded building include a titanium dioxide building coating, which helps to degrade air pollutants, and the installation of a 30-kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof using state-of-the-art 300 Watt modules designed by Panasonic.

Caroline Beardkins, HR Manager at Proctors, said: “This new culture of flexible working will provide an opportunity for our staff to demonstrate that they can deliver what our clients need while working to less traditional working patterns.

“We are also keen to place Proctors at the forefront of our industry in order to secure talent to grow our team. Flexible working will help with the attraction of new staff, as well as retention of our current personnel by improving fairness, reducing travel time, providing a better work-life balance and by improving trust and loyalty.

“It’s going to take some getting used to and our employees will need some time to get into the habit of updating their calendars when they are not working regular hours.

“It is crucial that our managers are supportive and encouraging. Leading by example in this area will help ease the changes and embed a genuine, company-wide culture which benefits everyone.

“Things have been pretty hectic around here with recruitment at the moment but Flexology have been brilliant to work with.

“Kristal has been the voice of calm and reason throughout this whole project – clear and concise with all survey, interview and workshop findings, while presenting them back to our leadership team and other employees in a way that enabled us to move this project forward quickly and productively. I’ll look forward to working with Flexology further in the future, in the hope they can help us fill our remaining vacancies.”

Flexology is based in Berkeley Square in Clifton and was set up in March 2017 by Ms McNamara and her business partner Shelley Snelson. The company has a double specialism: consulting with businesses to develop a flexible working culture; and placing staff into flexible roles at a senior professional level.

Ms McNamara said: “Our work with Proctors offers the perfect demonstration of the varied benefits of embedding a flexible working culture.

“We are excited to implement tangible improvements to the working life of everyone at Proctors and looking forward to helping the organisation find more talented employees who can join their great teams, working flexibly and focusing on delivery for clients, rather than the hours they work.

“Organisations across the board are recognising that those which don’t embrace a flexible mindset will fall behind others in terms of their productivity, profits and quality of the people they recruit.

“It’s been great to work with Proctors to help them start to realise the many benefits of flexible working. Ultimately, a happy workforce is a productive one and the resulting business benefits will, we hope, be clear to see.”