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PRESS RELEASE: A manifesto for change in the UK’s workplace

Timewise joins forces with Deloitte to set-out a five-point Manifesto to help accelerate gender parity in the workplace.

Microphone - manifesto for changeA new report published today looks to highlight the practical solutions needed to transform working practices that can exacerbate gender imbalance across the UK.

Flexible working experts Timewise have joined with professional services firm Deloitte to publish A Manifesto for Change: A Modern Workplace for a Flexible Workforce.

This five-point action plan, which aims to enable UK businesses to bring about the change needed to address outdated working practices, sets out the key components required:

  1. Leaders must provoke cultural change – challenge the status quo
  2. Flexible working to be gender neutral – emphasise the value of male and female role models
  3. Design flexibility into jobs as standard – ask “why not” rather than “why”
  4. Influence the attitudes and actions of managers – provide them with permission and support
  5. Collect the data – measure the success of flexible working

The Manifesto is built on new findings from a large-scale study, which included a survey of almost 2,000 professional workers1 as well as in-depth interviews with a diverse range of UK business leaders2.

Survey results

The study highlights that career progression is often seen as being limited for flexible workers. It suggests that, even when business leaders want to accommodate the flexible working needs of their employees, there is a disconnect between what is said at the top and how that trickles down into everyday working life:

  • 1 in 3 (30 per cent) of our survey respondents (92% of whom were women) felt they are regarded as having less status and importance because of their flexible working pattern.
  • 1 in 4 (25 per cent) felt they were given access to fewer opportunities AND missed-out on potential progression and promotion opportunities.
  • And a further 1 in 4 (28 per cent) felt disadvantaged because they couldn’t attend work-related events outside of working hours.

The study also highlights that the barriers to successfully embedding flexible working are mainly cultural, such as the attitudes and behaviours of managers. A majority of respondents agreed that organisations need to step away from passive policies and approaches, and instead:

  • Create a workplace culture in which people are judged on the work they do rather on the hours they work (7 in 10)
  • Recruit and train managers who truly support their team to achieve work/life balance (7 in 10)
  • Implement a range of suitable flexible working options (6 in 10)

Leaders from a range of industries were interviewed for the research, including Miriam González Durántez, partner at law firm Dechert; Keith Howells, Chairman of Mott MacDonald; Cilla Snowball, Group CEO and Chairman of AMV BBDO; and Fiona Cannon, Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group.


Timewise Co-Founder, Karen Mattison MBE, says: “The growing momentum around gender imbalance in the workplace, highlighted by the recent focus on the pay gap, means that it’s time for businesses to take action. Our new Manifesto outlines the tangible steps that will allow leaders to deliver real change.

For too long, there’s been an emphasis on ‘fixing the women’ and too little on fixing the system that makes it hard for them to succeed. The traditional workplace was designed for a family structure in which one person stayed at home and another went out to work. This is no longer the case for the majority of UK households. So employers need to catch up with the needs and aspirations of the modern workforce, or risk getting left behind.

True inclusion means challenging structural, as well as cultural, norms. It means changing how jobs are designed and how they are advertised. And it means thinking creatively about how work and teams can be organised.

It’s time for the workplace to deliver what people today want and need. Only then will we see lasting and meaningful change. And the prize for business? More women in senior roles, and a narrowing of the gap.”

Emma Codd, Managing Partner for Talent at Deloitte, says: “The last four years have marked a huge change for our firm. Four years ago staff were telling us they wanted better work-life balance; despite us providing all the standard flexible working options you would expect from an employer of 17,000+. It was playing out in our retention and engagement data, particularly for our female employees.

Today, the story is very different – we have a reputation for providing our people with the means to balance a great career with commitments outside work. Now, work-life balance is no longer the main reason people choose to leave our firm; people actually choose to join us because of our approach to agile working, and our people tell us they feel trusted to decide when, where and how they work. We have achieved this change simply by focusing on our culture, and ensuring we offer people options that really work for them and the firm.” 

– ENDS –

Further information

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Campaign Director, Daniela Marchesi:
t: 0207 633 4553        m: 0797 3300059        e:


1Source: Timewise survey (2017) of over 1,800 UK professionals who work, or want to work, flexibly. Of which of which 22% were in middle management, 14% in senior management and 26% in non-managerial professional roles. More than three-quarters (78%) said their current or most recent employer offered flexible working, and 86% said they worked that way. Most worked part-time or one or more days from home. Nearly all respondents (92%) were female and the vast majority (74%) were in the 35-54 age brackets. Exactly three-quarters were university-educated.

2In depth-interviews were carried out with 12 UK business leaders across a range of industries, who are regarded as supportive of flexible working, including:

  1. Karen Blackett, chairwoman of MediaCom and WPP’s UK country head;
  2. Fiona Cannon, group director of diversity at inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group;
  3. Miriam González Durántez, a partner at Dechert;
  4. Judy Greevy, Senior & Talent HR consultant, having led teams and change programmes for organisations including Centrica, Natwest and HM Revenue & Customs;
  5. Keith Howells, chairman of Mott MacDonald;
  6. James Libson, executive partner at Mischon de Reya;
  7. Karen Mattison, Co-Founder of Timewise;
  8. Katie McQuaid, director of Amazon Marketplace UK;
  9. Janvi Patel, co-founder of Halebury;
  10. Cilla Snowball, group CEO and group chairman of AMV.BBDO;
  11. David Sproul, Senior Partner and Chief Executive Deloitte; and
  12. Emer Timmons, CMO of BrightStar.

3Source: ‘Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative’, Timewise, 2017. 73 per cent of the UK workforce currently work either part-time or full-time with some form of flexible working pattern. See full report, here

About Timewise

Timewise is a multi-award winning social business, working to unlock the flexible jobs market in the UK. We share market insights on flexible working and flexible hiring, deliver training and consultancy to help businesses attract and develop the best talent, and conduct research such as our annual Flexible Jobs Index.

We also run Timewise Jobs, a national jobs board for roles that are part time or open to flexibility.

Timewise is led by award-winning founders, Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart, CEO. They have been listed as two of the UK’s leading radical thinkers by the Observer newspaper and Nesta; named ‘Small Business Heroes’ by Management Today magazine and ‘two of the key social entrepreneurs to watch’ by Real Business magazine; and are winners of the Institute of Directors’ Women Changing the Business World award, following nominations from the UK public. In 2010 they were made MBEs for their services to social enterprise.

About Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK’s leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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