The Power Employers 2020

The organisations who are pioneering flexible hiring and flexible job design.

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 25 Feb 2020


Politically impartial and independent, the Civil Service helps the government to develop and implement policies. Employing around 445,480 staff across the UK, it aims to be the most inclusive employer in the UK by 2020. And its commitment to flexible working is playing a key role in achieving this.

The Civil Service actively promotes and encourages flexible working among existing staff and potential applicants, using open communication channels, such as a blog on GOV.UK and the Civil Service Careers website. To make it easier for users to find the roles they’re looking for, the site includes a work pattern search function, with options such as job share, homeworking and part-time.

In 2015, the Civil Service launched the online Civil Service Job Share Finder to help people find a compatible job share partner. Job sharers continue to be supported over time by a number of internal initiatives, which include staff networks dedicated to parental and carer support, carers’ passports, smarter working hubs and a cross-government flexible working steering group.

Additionally, after managers and staff asked for a range of different ways to access information and support flexible workers, the Civil Service created a ‘gateway’ advisory tool.

As a result of these initiatives, the appetite for flexible working has increased year on year, as has its availability. Of the 44,000 vacancies advertised on Civil Service Jobs in 2018-19, 98% had flexible working options available.


Figleaves is a British brand specialising in beautifully made and great fitting lingerie and swimwear. Founded in 1998, the business mainly operates online, with a growing number of retail partners including Next, ASOS and Figleaves has been owned by N Brown since 2010 and is a strongly female-biased organisation with a single-minded brand proposition: to ensure everybody fits.

Over the past two years, the business has invested in building its ‘working from anywhere’ skills. As the business has been ‘doing digital’ for two decades, it has been increasingly working in agile squads and has transitioned from a central head office with fixed working hours to a highly flexible working style across multiple locations. Figleaves employees can now choose whether they work from the base in Hertfordshire, the London hub or home.

The firm has also introduced core working hours of 10am-4pm, with meetings scheduled within these times and employees empowered to flex the remainder of their working day to suit their needs. As many of Figleaves’ employees are parents, the ability to start or finish earlier or later makes it easier to manage childcare arrangements. However, it is popular across the workforce; examples of its use in practice include accommodating early stable duties and a mid-week car MOT. Following these initiatives, eight people have returned from maternity leave on fewer than five days a week. A member of the executive team has taken extended paternity leave, and two others work four days a week.

Image credit: Filograph via Getty Images

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