Marks and Spencer Team Photo

The new flexible working policy for store managers will roll out nationwide from January 2023

Marks & Spencer is launching a new flexible working policy for store colleagues to help them achieve a better work-life balance.

From January next year, the retailer’s new scheme, Worklife, will offer more than 3,000 retail managers additional flexible working options from which to choose.

M&S managers will be able to choose whether to spread their hours over five days, or work a four-day compressed week or nine-day compressed fortnight.

Managers opting for a part-time contract will also be able to access their own pro-rated version of the compressed ways of working on offer, M&S said.

The nationwide rollout of Worklife follows a successful trial across 100 stores, with 75% of the retail managers participating agreeing that the compressed-hour model had made a positive impact on their family life and 73% on time for themselves.

“Working nine days over two weeks means I can get alternative Wednesdays off to look after my one-year-old son – giving us quality time together and also helping to save money on nursery costs,” said M&S Stratford-on-Avon store manager Simon Pollitt. “It’s fantastic and feels ground-breaking in our field.”

M&S has hailed it as an “industry-leading offering” for retail managers, and said it was a measure to help continue to attract and retain “the best talent” in the industry into the business.

Group HR director Sarah Findlater said: “We want M&S to be a great place to work and shop – that means having engaged colleagues with a good work-life balance.

“Retail is a fast-paced industry but that shouldn’t mean missing out on the moments that matter.

“Whether caring commitments, the chance to get involved in your local community or to prioritise your own mental and physical wellbeing.”

In addition, the 138-year-old retailer launched a new job share platform which connects colleagues across stores and support centres who are able to job share – such as recent parents returning from parental leave who want more flexibility – with potential job share matches.

“We’ve listened to colleagues and are determined to create a cultural shift to flexible working across our stores,” Findlater said. “We are determined to keep exploring ideas that transform the way we work at M&S.”