Innovation Unit

The Innovation Unit is the Timewise Foundation’s do-tank. We research, test and share ‘what works’ in challenging roles and sectors, breaking down operational barriers to create Good Flexible Work which leaves no one behind.

Innovation unit lightboxWhile flexible working is increasingly common in office-based environments, in other workplaces it’s a different story. Current estimates suggest that there are around 5.5m employees in shift-based roles for whom a predictable flexible working pattern is just not an option.

The issue is that, in certain sectors, overcoming the operational barriers to flexible working is extremely challenging. But if we don’t take action, there is a serious risk that we will end up with a two-tier system of flexible working. And it will be people with crucial everyday frontline jobs, such as nurses, teachers and retail assistants, who get left behind.

The Timewise Innovation Unit has been created to break down these barriers and ensure that Good Flexible Work is available to all. It takes a practical approach, researching, piloting and testing radical solutions that work for both employers and employees, and have flexibility built in.

The work of the unit will include:

  • Driving radical change through in-depth workplace pilots, in collaboration with employers and industry partners.
  • Creating and sharing benchmarks for best practice: our Good Flexible Work Standards.
  • Designing a series of sector-specific resources, toolkits and guidelines for employers.

Innovation Unit supporters and members

The work of the Innovation Unit is being supported by Aviva, Barclays, EY and Trust for London. Our thanks also go to the members of our Advisory Board:

Gavin Kelly, CEO, Resolution Trust

Campbell Robb, CEO, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Adam Marshall, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

Helen Dickinson, CEO, British Retail Consortium

Austin Taylor-Laybourn, Grants Manager, Trust for London

Mandy Coalter, Director of People, United Learning

Gaby Hinsliff, Journalist

Sam White and Will MacDonald, Group Sustainability and Public Policy Director, Aviva

Sally Bucknell, Director, Diversity and Inclusion, EY

Kirstie Mackey, Head of Citizenship and Consumer Affairs, Barclays

Nicola Smith and Alice Hood, Head of Equalities and Strategy, TUC

Katerina Rudiger, Chief Community Officer, CIPD

Professor Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation, Cranfield University

Professor Tracey Warren, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham

If you would like to get involved, either as a funder or a collaborator, please contact Emma Stewart on 020 7633 4552 or email