PRESS RELEASE: PIONEERING VETERINARY PRACTICE NAMED AS UK’S MOST FLEXIBLE SMALL BUSINESS

Timewise reveals Coventry-based Broad Lane Vets as the UK’s Most Flexible Small Business, proving that SMEs are embracing flexibility in innovative new ways

11 Feb 2015

Image to go with press release

  • Broad Lane Vets, from Coventry, crowned winner of the UK’s Most Flexible Small BusinessTimewise’s new nationwide competition to prove that SMEs are embracing flexibility in innovative new ways
  • The brand new initiative, in partnership with Business is Great, DWP and PwC, highlights revolutionary change in how we are working – and the role of SMEs in leading the change

Following a nationwide search, a Midlands-based veterinary practice has been crowned the ‘UK’s Most Flexible Small Business’. Broad Lane Vets, which has three practices across Coventry and a turnover of £1.4m, employs 40 people, with less than half working full time hours. The practice offers staff various flexible working patterns, enabling them to balance other commitments and interests, including a vet who volunteers overseas and another who plays rugby for Scotland’s national women’s team.

The competition was launched by Timewise (www.timewise.co.uk) – the flexibility experts, in partnership with the Business is Great campaign, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and PwC, to prove that small businesses are driving revolutionary workplace change through flexibility.

Despite the popular belief that providing working patterns outside of ‘standard’ business hours is too complicated, resource-heavy or expensive for SMEs, growing numbers of smaller firms are now adopting flexible workingwith 3 in 4 FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) members employing at least one flexible worker.

Timewise launched the search in October 2014 in partnership with Smallbusiness.co.uk, reaching in excess of 20,000 small businesses (between two and 249 employees). Heralded as a beacon for innovative workplace excellence, Broad Lane Vets’ flexible working culture was selected as the winning entry by a judging panel including Stuart Rock of the Business is Great campaign, Elaine Barker of DWP and Stephanie Hyde from PwC.

Broad Lane Vets will receive a £1,000 cash prize and have a three minute video made that showcases its business and how it operates. Media partner of the initiative SmallBusiness.co.uk and Timewise will host the video simultaneously.

Timewise co-founder, Karen Mattison MBE says:  “The aim of the competition was to debunk the outdated myth that flexible working is ‘the enemy of small business’.  Broad Lane Vets is a stellar example of how small businesses are successfully implementing flexibility to help their organisations thrive, and often in industry sectors where you might least expect it.

“The working world has moved on so much in the past ten years. A decade ago, for example, the common perception was that home or remote working was not as effective or productive as being ‘present’ at the workplace. Now, progressive businesses like Broad Lane Vets – whose staff often work from home when on non-clinical duties – utilise tools and technologies to facilitate flexible working, while still providing a quality 24-hour, 7-days-a-week service.”

Mattison runs a jobsite and agency that works with 3,000 employers, including many SMEs, and says: “In our experience, small means agile and adaptable, and we’re seeing more and more small businesses experimenting with different styles of working. SMEs like Broad Lane Vets recognise flexibility as a tool for attraction, retention and business growth; they are leading the way in revolutionising how we work.

Other businesses recognised by the initiative include consultancies Bovill and Kloud, and childrenswear and gift brand Twisted Tee.

Employment Minister Jo Swinson, of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is leading the Business is Great campaign, says: “We want to change workplace culture, so that flexible working becomes the norm, not a special case. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, offering flexible working enables firms to attract and keep the best talent.

“I congratulate Broad Lane Vets and hope that it inspires more small firms across the UK to be as innovative and accommodating in the workplace.”

Minister for Employment Esther McVey, of the Department for Work and Pensions, says:  “Employers need to recognise the value of flexible working. It is showing that what is good for their employees is good for the bottom line.

“With more women in work and ageing population, flexible working can be a win-win situation. By shining a light on the great work that many businesses, such as Broad Lane Vets, are already doing here, the hope is to encourage others to follow.”

Stephanie Hyde, Head of Regions, PwC says: “It’s vital to recognise and champion the innovation within the SME sector that is helping to drive the UK’s economic recovery. Broad Lane Vets epitomises the pioneering work of UK small businesses and we congratulate them on their achievements.”

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FURTHER INFORMATION

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Laura O’Donnell t: 07800 890324, e: laura@autumncomms.com
or Daniela Marchesi, t: 0207 633 4553, e: Daniela.Marchesi@timewise.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

Background: Small business driving UK economic growth

1 According to a recent report by the IPPR, ‘SMEs are disproportionately driving the [UK’s] jobs recovery’, accounting for 84 per cent of jobs growth between 2010 and 2013.  Source: Small Firms, Giant Leaps: Small Businesses and the Path to Full Employment. Spencer Thompson, April 2014, Institute Public Policy Research

[1] Among FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) members employing staff, 74 per cent have at least one member of staff working flexibly. Source: FSB 2014 Voice of Small Business full member survey

About the Business is Great campaign:

The ‘Business is GREAT Britain’ campaign aims to build confidence amongst small businesses by showcasing inspirational examples of similar sized businesses. It encourages businesses to plan, hire and export as drivers to future business success.  For more information visit: www.greatbusiness.gov.uk

The ‘Business is GREAT Britain’ campaign has three key strands:

INSPIRE – encouraging small businesses to take a step back from the day-to-day and consider the full potential of their businesses, and plan for long term growth
HIRE – encouraging businesses to take on new talent and fresh ideas to drive business growth
EXPORT – encouraging businesses to consider new, foreign markets for their goods and services

About DWP and Social Justice

The term ‘Social Justice’ is one which has many facets, but only one outcome. A life-changing difference that offers people a chance to rebuild their lives.Social Justice: Transforming Lives is a cross-government channel that enables organisations and individuals to tell their own stories.

Flexible working – legislative changes

In June, the right to request flexible working was extended to include all employees beyond parents and carers, who previously had the right to request. The Government expects this to be used particularly by older people and those balancing work and study.

Employers have previously found that allowing flexible working among their workforce improves productivity, loyalty and reduced staff absence.