Business First | Britain's most flexible working environments

The UK’s most flexible companies and how they make it work

14 Jan 2016 –– News
Is your company flexible?

Legislation for flexible working

Ever since June the 30th 2014, it has been a statutory right of all employees in the UK, that have worked for their employer for over 26 weeks, to ask for flexible working and have their requests seriously considered.

So now that flexible working is preserved in law; is it working and has it truly become part of UK employment culture?

Here we take a look at the UK’s most flexible companies and how they make it work for both their employees, and their productivity.

Britain’s Healthiest Companies

On average, Britain’s economy loses £58 billion a year to lost productivity; issues such as absenteeism and presenteeism being major factors in this statistic. Increased flexibility in the workplace has been found to be a major factor in reducing employee stress levels, boosting morale and in turn improving workplace productivity.

Since 2013, VitalityHealth, Mercer and the Sunday Telegraph have been running a project, Britain’s Healthiest Company, aimed at reducing this deficit and making the workplaces of Britain happier, healthier, more productive places to be in.

With awards for small, medium and large businesses across categories including Healthiest Company, Healthiest Workplace and Healthiest Employees, the awards aim to showcase the steps taken by the companies involved and encourage the rest of the UK’s businesses to learn from these initiatives, and the upturns in employee happiness and productivity that are achieved as a result.

The Winners

The awards are given for the top three positions across three categories; small, medium and large businesses. In 2015, Britain’s Healthiest Companies were as follows:

Britain’s Healthiest Company

  • 1st place; small, medium, large: Old Mutual, Adidas (UK), Johnson & Johnson
  • 2nd place; small, medium, large: JDSU UK Ltd, Iris Worldwide, Nomura
  • 3rd place; small, medium, large: Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Sweaty Betty, Morgan Stanley

Britain’s Healthiest Employees

  • 1st place; small, medium, large: Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Sweaty Betty, Microsoft
  • 2nd place; small, medium, large: JDSU UK Ltd, Gilead Sciences, Nomura
  • 3rd place; small, medium, large: Ruffer LLP, Adidas (UK), BNP Paribas

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace

  • 1st place; small, medium, large: Lindt & Sprungli, Adidas (UK), Johnson & Johnson
  • 2nd place; small, medium, large: Old Mutual, Iris Worldwide, Morgan Stanley
  • 3rd place; small, medium, large: Sundyne HMD Sealless Pumps Ltd, Edinburgh Leisure, Chivas Brothers

The awards seek to improve workplace productivity by helping companies to understand "the greatest health risks your employees face" and enable them to "take action to help reduce absence rates, increase employee engagement and improve … bottom line[s] as a result."

People work well, when they’re well for work

Multitudes of different initiatives are in place across the companies that achieve highly in Britain’s Healthiest Company. Some of the most popular and effective are:

  • Company emails and newsletters to promote health campaigns
  • Posters to promote health campaigns
  • Health and wellbeing training for line managers
  • Stress management information for all staff
  • Bike storage facilities
  • Bike purchase schemes
  • Healthy alternatives in staff canteens
  • Free fruit
  • Healthy eating information
  • On-site dieticians and nutritionists
  • Alcohol and smoking counselling
  • Corporate gym memberships
  • Running clubs
  • Aerobics clubs
  • Shower and changing facilities
  • On-site medical staff
  • On-site physiologists to design bespoke fitness regimes for staff
  • Stress management and other mental health awareness courses
  • Life coaches and CBT coaches
  • Flexible working opportunities

Although not all companies can afford their very own on-site physiologists, the majority of the techniques employed by Britain’s Healthiest Companies are simple to introduce and cost effective to keep in place.

The added benefit of operating initiatives like these, is that happy, healthy staff who have the opportunity to work flexibly, will be more productive and motivated to work for a company that they feel is taking care of them. In short, offering opportunities for flexible working and encouraging employees to have healthy work-life balances will have a direct impact on a business’ bottom line.

How to improve flexibility and productivity in your workplace

By utilising just a few of the ideas listed above, you can quickly and easily make your business a healthier, happier place to be.

If your offices already have on-site shower facilities and gyms, why not make the most of them by starting up lunchtime exercise classes for staff to join?

Perhaps you could offer employees the opportunity to leave earlier on a Friday if they start earlier, or finish later, the rest of the week.

Whatever works for your company, by introducing an environment where stress is reduced and staff believe you care about them, you will increase the feelings of loyalty towards your company and can directly affect your bottom line.

Why not give it a try?

How Business First can help

At Business First’s state-of-the-art business centres across the North West, you’ll find serviced offices to rent with a multitude of facilities to help your company to maximise productivity and make the most of your business.

With free to use on-site gyms at most business centres and spacious offices you can turn into great working environments that encourage productivity why not give us a call and see what we can do for you?