Co-operative in running as top flexible working employer

September 28, 2010

The UK’s largest community retailer, The Co-operative Group is in the running for a national award as a top employer for its flexible working practices.

The judges of the prestigious Top Employers for Working Families awards 2010 have shortlisted the Manchester-based Co-operative Group for an Innovation Special Award in recognition of its pioneering flexible working programme.

Judges have praised The Co-operative for its significant investment in new technologies that will enable new flexible working practices to be adopted bringing about a significant cultural change in working practices for its head office-based employees giving them greater flexibility in terms of where and how they choose to work.

The business is currently rolling out a flexible working pilot to its 3,500 Manchester-based employees, which has been designed to facilitate the shift gradually, department by department, to a modern, agile, performance and productivity-focussed culture, helping employees to balance their working lives with their home and social commitments, whilst continuing to meet the needs of the business.

The pilot will run until 2012 when all Manchester-based employees will move into their brand new purpose-built head office building, which has been designed to ensure the most efficient use of space, with a target of encouraging at least 40% of employees to adopt a flexible working pattern, including compressed hours, working from home and working from other locations, including regional offices and even from its retail stores.

The 2010 Top Employers for Working Families award winners will be announced at a special gala event on 19th October in the delightful surroundings of London Zoo within Regent’s Park, London.

Amanda Jones, Head of Business Change and Transformation at The Co-operative Group, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award, especially up against so many strong contenders. At The Co-operative, we’re embarking upon a major shift in work-style practices and we’re doing it on a massive scale in order to install a new working culture within the business before we move into our new head office in 2012. This project will really ensure The Co-operative is leading by example as a top employer for flexible working.”

Additional information:

The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business which is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of £14 billion, employs 123,000 staff and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets handling more than 20 million weekly transactions.  

Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.

The Co-operative is the UK’s number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually, and is the UK’s largest farmer.

Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical and The Co-operative Legal Services.