Flexible working enablers poster

This poster highlights the ten enablers to flexible working.

20 August 2021

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The NHS People Plan sets out an ask for the NHS staff council to work alongside NHS England (NHSE) to develop guidance to support employers to make flexible working a reality for our NHS staff. 

From this, we have created this poster in partnership with the NHS Staff Council detailing the ten enablers to flexible working. 

Flexible working forms a crucial part of creating modern and inclusive employment practices. More action is needed to increase the uptake of flexible working across the NHS, to recruit and retain diverse talent and ensure that the NHS is an employer of choice.

As part of the NHS People Plan, the NHS People Promise sets out a series of commitments, one of which is we work flexibly which states:

We do not have to sacrifice our family, our friends or our interests for work.

We have predictable and flexible working patterns – and, if we do need to take time off, we are supported to do so.

This ambition is to give people greater choice over their working patterns, helping them to achieve a better work-life balance. 

Use this resource to help focus your conversations on flexible working.

Find out more about each of the enablers and access practical guidance, tips and relevant examples of best practice in our flexible working enablers for change.

  • Leading the way

    Leaders will provoke cultural change, challenge status quo and enable the principle of flexibility by default.

    Staff engagement

    Talk to staff and use data to find out what they want in terms of flexibility. Support teams to define and improve flexible working practices that meets the needs of them and patients / services.

    Policy and process

    Ensure your policy and processes are up to date and are easily accessible by staff.

    Supportive line management

    Influence the attitudes and actions of managers by providing permission, support, and training to equip managers to deal with flexible working requests effectively.

    Job design

    Design jobs with flexibility in mind as standard, recognising that flexibility is role dependant. Ask ‘why not’ rather than ‘why’.


    Technological solutions can improve rostering and help to manage live rotas. Rota design should be a collaborative process involving both employers and staff.


    Educate everyone on how to work flexibly so they can find the right balance. Promote flexible working to staff and managers to ensure that staff know what their options are.

    System working

    Collaborate with other organisations in your area to provide greater opportunities for staff to work flexibly.


    Flexible working will be inclusive and open to all. Policies and processes will be equality assessed and outcomes monitored.

    Defining success and measuring impact

    Clearly define what successful flexible working looks and feels like. Regularly monitor and measure the effectiveness of flexible working practices to demonstrate its positive impact on patients and colleagues.