Almost three quarters of workers across the globe cite flexible working as one of the most important factors in a potential job. However, there is no escaping the fact that some companies are much better at this than others, offering employees the opportunity to have a better work life balance without impacting their career progression.
Glassdoor, a jobs and careers marketplace, has announced the top 20 companies for work-life balance, based purely on anonymous reviews from UK employees. We took a look at what the top ten on the list had to offer.
London-based market intelligence firm Euromonitor, which specialises in producing country-specific data such as beer sales across the world, took the crown when it came to being UK’s top company for work-life balance. Reviewers praised its “relaxed environment” and the fact there is little to no work done outside office hours.
On working for top employer Euromonitor, consulting team member Fizzah Nurmohamed said that the “variation of the role is very enjoyable”.
“Encompassing liaising, meeting and presenting to clients, to negotiating and briefing analysts in far to reach regions, as well as preparing and condensing our findings in visual ways to engage the client,” she continued. “Working in a dynamic and diverse team helps me learn from other experiences, inspiring one another to tackle and overcome challenges we may encounter during the research process.”
The company has a flexible benefits package which includes up to 35 days holiday for full-time staff. One analyst described the company culture as “really warm, relaxing, not too much stress”, while an economist praised the bank for its “excellent secondment opportunities and great indoor facilities”. Another said it was very easy to take time off.
The bank itself claimed that its flexible benefits allowed staff to enhance their core benefits by using an allowance worth seven per cent of their salary.
The choice of flexible benefits further included: wellbeing benefits, such as private medical insurance for partners and children, an additional pension and different health insurance options. Employees also gained lifestyle benefits, such as up to 13 days additional leave and childcare vouchers – as well as membership to an in-house gym.
Technology company Mediamath has received consistently good feedback from current and former employees. The company was described by one London-based worker as a “great company that cares about its employees, with great benefits like flexible work hours, free food, company drinks and team building”.
Another said the company “respects personal and work life balance, enriching both simultaneously”.
Jenna Griffith, SVP of MediaMath, added that offering flexible working was especially crucial when it came to retaining female employees.
“The hardest part of my career to date – and my second noted challenge – has arisen since having children,” she said. “The struggle to juggle the pressures of motherhood with a senior role in an international business takes the concept of multi-tasking to a whole new level. For many women, at the point where they become highly experienced and proficient in their job, the challenges of motherhood forces them to make a difficult choice: career or family. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Online gambling company Unibet was praised by employees for its “great people, opportunity to try new things and useful employee benefits”.
GIassdoor quoted one employee as having said: “I love the flexible working hours and opportunity to work from home when I need to! It really helps if you are a parent or if you are not local and would like to spend a few days back home without necessarily taking a holiday.”
Furthermore, staff members all pointed to the fact that their pension plans had been matched by the company by eight per cent. They also seemed to like the gym and health club allowance, as well as the new discounts and rewards portal.
Software company Equal Experts is frequently ranked as one of the best technology companies to work for in the UK. It was described as “an amazing and inspiring place to work” by a current employee, while others praised efforts made by the firm to organise team lunches and family barbecues.
Equal Experts claimed that due to grilling candidates in a rigorous interview process, the company knew that it had gained a talented workforce. As such, the bosses were keen to to keep them.
“We have a very flat structure where everyone is expected to behave as a grown-up,” the company explained. “We value equitable, long-term relationships with our employees and our associates alike. And by encouraging a healthy work-life balance, we believe we’re enabling the best people to do their best work.”
The company has a 4.9 ranking out of five on Glassdoor, whereby 100 per cent of employees and associates who submitted anonymous reviews would recommend the company and approve of the CEO.
Read on to find out about the company that allows you to work out your own schedule.
According to its employees, Holiday Extras is all about praising and treating staff.
“The flexible working is fantastic, and home life always comes first,” said one employee. “The office is laid-back but everyone works hard, just as it should be,” explained a separate one. Another added there is “always something going on that staff can get involved with, for example parties, career development and competitions”.
Every self-respecting workplace needs a chill-out space where you can take time out to unwind – and Holiday Extras certainly shows that the concept works. Among the most cited benefits was the desk chairs and picnic tables at the staffs’ disposal.
It also not only urged employees to consider flexible working schemes, but sent them away on annual retreats including yoga and massages.
According to one of the anonymous employees cited on Glassdoor, the company is flexible on working hours, which makes it far easier to manage things like personal appointments, or having work men visit your house.
Another noted that the company used the motto “don’t keep doing things the same way”. It was further stressed that Financial Force used a flexible work schedule, and offered “great” compensation and benefits packages.
However, whatever methods have been employed in the flexible working space seems to have become somewhat of a company secret. What we do know is that Financial Force has ranked among the UK’s best places to work since 2013.
This year it finished in 50th place – to which director Matt Cosway said: “We will continue to monitor and adapt as we scale upwards, but the culture is inherent.”
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Media recruitment agency Aspsire’s employees suggested that the company made improvements for staff its top priority. They went so far as to claim that outside interests had been encouraged, and that working hours were fit around their lives.
If you come in to work at 8am, you can leave at 5pm, whether it’s to pick up the kids or just to enjoy the summer evenings, one employee was cited as having said. The company also allowed staff to lie in by having them start at 9.30am and finish at 6.30pm.
Aspire has introduced a “Boardroom Bucks” initiative, whereby all employees who have passed their probation are able to pitch for a grant to put towards an activity for their personal growth. Whether it’s new sports equipment to help train for an event, language classes or photography lessons, the grant will be awarded to the most worthy applicant twice a year.
9) Swiss Re
Insurance company Swiss Re, which is headquartered in The Gherkin, was described as having great training opportunities and support. It was also noted that the company encouraged its employees to work from home at least one day a week, if not more.
According to Nia Joynson-Romanzina, global head of diversity and inclusion at Swiss Re, the company runs an initiative dubbed “Own the Way You Work,” which follows four principles. The first rule is “one size does not fit all”. Each person comes up with their own system. The next rules are to “work smarter, not longer”, “focus on the team rather than the individual”, and the workplace must be characterised by an “atmosphere of trust, openness, and transparency”.
This allows work models such as job sharing and home offices to be implemented. She added that a strategy of “deep flexibility” should be pursued – certain tasks, meetings, and deadlines remain fixed for employees, but they should be given as much flexibility as possible to divide up and organise their duties within that framework.
Pentland, the name behind some of the world’s best sports, outdoor and fashion brands, was named one of the UK’s top ten workplaces of 2014 by the Great Place to Work Institute (GPTW). The selection was based on an employee survey and an analysis of company culture. Of course, Pentland’s 2,000 employees participated in the global survey, with 84 per cent saying it was a “great place to work” and 81 per cent citing a sense of community and pride in working for the firm.
In the survey, the word “family” was used several times by Brits describing what made Pentland so unique. With such an emphasis on culture, as well as being a family-owned business, it isn’t hard to see why flexible working topped Pentland’s list. In its own survey, Glassdoor suggested that Pentland attracted the right kind of people – those who worked hard, were skilled, but also very easy to work with – so the company had to offer extra benefits to retain its workforce.
Glassdoor noted that employees had all made reference to the company’s staff discounts, free gym facilities and “excellent work-life balance”. Furthermore, the company had a subsidised nursery for children under five years old and catered to flexible working arrangements under a “smart working” initiative.
For further reference, here’s the list from 11 onwards:
12) Hitachi Data Systems
13) Standard & Poor’s Rating Services
15) Peer 1 Hosting
19) Marcus Evans
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