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Inspired Villages Group leads the way by helping to provide employees with a better work-life balance

Research has revealed that one in four full-time workers in the UK would prefer to work part-time, provided it didn’t affect their hourly pay or career progression.

The report, by flexible working consultancy Timewise*, has shown there is demand for permanent jobs that offer flexible working options. It also highlights that to stay ahead in the race for talent, employers need to make it a key part of their benefits package.

Inspired Villages Group, an operator and developer of later living accommodation, is among businesses across the country who are aware of the benefits of empowering their staff to have a better work-life balance.

At the company’s Austin Heath development, in Warwickshire, Janine Devaney works as a community liaison manager for Inspired, which was formed with Legal & General in August 2017. Not only is she doing a job she loves – but a role that allows her to be there for her two young children.

Janine said: “My hours are incredibly flexible. I work 22 hours a week in term time, from 9.30am to 3pm Tuesday to Friday, and in holidays I work two longer days in the office and eight hours from home.

“To work part-time school hours is great, but then to have the flexibility in the holidays is amazing. My daughter is only four, so arranging holiday clubs for her is still a bit tricky, although this will change as she gets older. I will then be able to offer more flexibility back to Inspired.”

Based at Austin Heath, a development of 167 luxurious apartments in Heathcote, Warwick, with 49 complete and occupied and the remainder being constructed, Janine’s role sees her forming relationships and building long-term partnerships within the local area.

She said: “I’m very lucky to have secured this position. Not only do I love the job but it allows me to be a present mum in my children’s lives while they’re still young. I have a good work-life balance, which is so important and yet normally so difficult to obtain.”

Janine started working at Inspired Villages Group in February 2017, covering Saturdays in the sales suite. In October she began working extra hours to provide cover, when a new role was created that she knew would be ideal.

Janine said: “When I heard about the community liaison manager role, I knew it would be perfect for me. So, I threw my hat in the ring with a proposal of part-time hours and was delighted when I was offered the job.

“It was so refreshing that the senior management team was open to my proposal and were prepared to give me an opportunity.”

Janine said it’s vital for companies to offer flexible working in order for them to obtain and retain the best staff.

She said: “If you give someone flexibility and treat them as an adult, in return you’ll have an incredibly hard-working and loyal employee.

“Companies that don’t consider or offer part-time or flexible opportunities are missing out on a highly-skilled group of professionals who can offer a huge amount of value to the business.

“Life is so busy and so much is expected of us. It’s important to identify the most appropriate working patterns for every individual. A little flexibility and encouraging a work-life balance is essential to maintain a healthy, happy workforce that can lead the way for future generations.”

Janine said that while working in an office provided a ‘sense of community’ and ‘camaraderie’, there were also many benefits to be gained by working from home, and that allowing flexibility was essential for today’s workforce.

She added: “Inspired has allowed me to utilise my business skills and raise my family, which has made me feel empowered.

“Working flexible part-time hours has allowed me to take and collect my children from school, which makes me feel connected to my community and allows me to talk with the other mums – an invaluable networking opportunity! My children also feel part of that community because we walk with their friends to and from school.

“I’m able to attend school performances and open days, if my diary allows, and that flexibility is invaluable, especially for my youngest child, Beatrix, who is only four and is in her first year at school. Recently, parents were invited to an open afternoon to spend time doing art with their children. Beatrix was so excited when I went into her classroom because she could show me all her work. I’m sure the experience has helped to create happy memories for her.”

Jamie Bunce, CEO at Inspired Villages Group, said it was important for today’s businesses to offer flexible working wherever possible and engage with a talent pool too often ignored.

He said: “Janine is a highly-valued member of our team and we’re delighted we’ve been able to help her achieve a better work-life balance.

“At Inspired we believe in supporting our employees’ wellbeing. Flexible working not only helps them, but benefits us as a business because arrangements such as this have a positive impact on productivity.”

Inspired is also in the process of joining forces with a UK university to introduce courses specifically based around the requirements of later living.

Jamie explained: “We want to create syllabuses, courses and degrees in a wide range of areas that can all relate back to later living.

“People need to be trained in a certain way to work within this sector, and we want to help current and potential members of our team to become the employees they want to be.”

For more information, events and current availability on the Inspired Austin Heath remaining Phase One properties, please visit the website at: www.inspiredvillages.co.uk