Employers and work-life balance

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Case studies

Happy Ltd

The Company  
Sector Training Business Services
Location South East England (but provides training all over the UK)

£2.1 million

Profit for 2003/2004


No. of employees


% female 55%
% ethnic minorities 15%
% turnover 10%
% women returning after maternity leave 3 Staff

The challenge
There is no real challenge for Happy as it has been following a work life balance agenda for the last four to five years. They have regular twice-yearly appraisals that keep a close check on their policies and make sure that the staff are satisfied with their personalised working arrangements. A work life balance way of working has been part of the working culture for the last 15 years of its existence in the business. Happy are the first company in London to achieve the Investors In People Work/Life Balance Model.

The staff are fully motivated thanks to a more flexible working pattern. Compared to other companies in their industry they have a lower staff turn over of 10% compared to an average of 17% for the IT training sector. In the last year, 2 of the staff who left us, were on the phone asking for their jobs back within 2 weeks of working elsewhere! (And yes, we took them back.) .

There are currently over 2000 Happy wanabees on their job list waiting to hear about vacancies, so they no longer need to spend money advertising posts which can cost about 1000 pounds.

They won Best Customer Service in the UK in 2003.. For example someone who wants to work on a Saturday means they can train customers on weekends and evenings illustrating Happy’s flexibility in the business.

“We believe that by offering flexible working to ALL staff, we are appreciating and recognising the best assets of the company – our people” Cathy, Managing Director

The future
Happy will always welcome new ways of working flexibly and make changes in policy where needs be. They maintain a “can do” attitude and don’t second-guess anyone.

Staff feel richer and more fulfilled not just because of the industry they work in, but because they work for Happy.

Parents can bring in their kids if they need to during the holidays.

Staff love the flexibility and say they don’t really want to move on because not all companies offer this so widely.

They won the Family Friendly Employer of the Year Award for 2003.

April 2005


© Work-Life balance part of The Work Foundation 2005