SMEs are leading a revolution

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 working2.

In order to chart the change, flexibility experts Timewise ( have launched 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Timewise co-founder, Karen Mattison MBE says:  “There is an unfair and outdated perception that flexible working is ‘the enemy of small business’ – we want to debunk that myth.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.


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.”