Broad Lane Vets in Coventry has won Timewise’s 2015 ‘search for the UK’s most flexible small business’. More than half of their 40 employees work flexibly in some way. Company Director Elly Pittaway says that flexible working helps to cover the long shifts at the practice’s three different sites. It also helps to attract and retain staff in what is an increasingly feminised sector.
Oxford Instruments has had a four-and-a-half-day week at some of its sites for as long as anyone can remember. Other flexible work patterns are also on offer across the company. HR Director Claire Flint says it helps the organisation to recruit and retain staff in a fiercely competitive market for engineering talent.
EY is seeing a competitive advantage from giving employees greater control over how, when and where they work. Over the last 2 years, the firm has formalised its approach to flexible working, embedding it in corporate culture through an ambitious change programme.
“Clients wouldn’t accept it,” is one of the main fears employers have about part time or flexible staff. Fiona Gibson, a managing director at consultancy Accenture, has thrived in a top client-facing role while working part-time for the past 16 years. She explains how to approach client relationships and demonstrate that flexible working can benefit everyone – including the client.
Many companies suffer a female ‘brain drain’ in middle and senior management. In response to this challenge, Credit Suisse piloted its Real Returns initiative, looking to increase the number of women returning to work after maternity. Juliette Aplin of Credit Suisse reports on the project.