Timewise leads a search for the UK’s Most Flexible Small Business, to prove that SMEs are recruiting and employing staff in innovative new ways

16 Oct 2014

Search for the UKs most flexible small businessA brand new initiative, run in partnership with Business is Great, DWP and PwC, highlights revolutionary change in how we are working – and the role of SMEs in the change.

With SMEs leading the UK job market recovery – having been collectively responsible for 84 per cent of new vacancies created between 2010 and 2013[1] – a new initiative aims to highlight their role in driving revolutionary workplace change.

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 working[2].

In order to chart the change, flexibility experts Timewise today launch the first ever search for the UK’s Most Flexible Small Business.


Run in partnership with the Business is Great campaign, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and PwC, the new competition will champion small businesses that offer flexible work options to employees.

Timewise is calling for applications from businesses with between two and 249 employees, where many work part time or remotely. The winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize and have a three minute video produced about their business and how they work. Media partner of the initiative and Timewise will host the video simultaneously.

Timewise co-founder, Karen Mattison MBE says:  “There is an unfair and outdated perception that flexible working is ‘the enemy of small business’ – we want to debunk that myth. The working world has moved on so much in the past ten years, with innovative and progressive SMEs using flexibility as a tool for attraction, retention and growth, as a matter of course.”

Mattison runs a jobsite and agency that works with 3,000 employers, including many SMEs, and says: “In our experience, small means agile, adaptable and speedy and many are experimenting with different styles of working. We have seen small businesses using part time hours as a way to tap into the talented market of skilled professionals, and hire two skilled members of staff for the price of one. And we have seen SMEs with business models that allow all members of staff to work remotely or from home. These are the businesses of the future – and they deserve to be championed.”


Businesses can nominate themselves via More information on the competition can be found at .

To enter and be in the running for the £1,000 cash prize, businesses need to fill out a short nomination form describing how flexible their working culture is.

Nominations close on Monday 24 November 2014.


Employment Minister Jo Swinson, of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is leading the Business is Great campaign, says: “Extending the right to request flexible working will help firms attract and retain the best talent and reap the benefits of a more motivated workforce. It will also ensure that there is a cultural shift towards more modern, 21st century workplaces that embrace the technology that enables more innovative and effective ways of working.”

“Seeking out those firms that already use flexible working will not only highlight how different ways of working can benefit employers and employees, but show others examples of best use and encourage them to follow suit.”

Minister for Employment Esther McVey, of the Department for Work and Pensions, says: “Small businesses are the driving force in our economy and can often adapt more quickly to market trends and flexible working practices, which can be vital in helping people back into the workplace, particularly those with family or caring commitments.

“Many people also aspire to be their own boss because of the flexibility it gives them and as part of the Government’s long-term economic plan we are committed to supporting enterprise and job creation through schemes such as the New Enterprise Allowance.”

Stephanie Hyde, Head of Regions, PwC says: “Small business is the backbone of enterprise in the UK. This important initiative underlines the level of innovation occurring within the sector. Research shows that it is these businesses which are leading the UK’s economic recovery, and we’re pleased to be supporting Timewise in their work to champion them.”

– ENDS –


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Laura O’Donnell t: 07800 890324, e:
or Jo Burkill, t: 0207 633 4553, e:

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

[2] Among FSB 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:

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.