Here at the Co-op we want to support colleagues who want to work flexibly wherever we can.

Crucial bits

Making a request

We don’t believe in having restrictions around who can work flexibly, so everyone who works here can make a flexible working request. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked here or how many hours you work.

You can usually make a formal request every 12 months but if things change and you need to make another request, talk to your manager to see what can be arranged.

Dealing with a request

We need to deal with any formal flexible working requests within three months, but we’ll try to do it quicker than this wherever we can.

We’ll always treat requests fairly and do our best to say yes.

We’ll only turn down a request for these genuine business reasons:

  • It would cost the business more
  • The quality of your or your team’s work would be likely to suffer
  • We wouldn’t be able to recruit an additional team member
  • It would have a negative impact on your or your team’s performance
  • It wouldn’t be possible to reorganise the work amongst the rest of the team
  • It would have an negative impact on the service we provide to our customers
  • There wouldn’t be enough work to do at the times you want to work
  • There’s an organisational change planned which will impact your role or your team

If we need to turn a request down, we will make sure we clearly explain why. If you really disagree with us then there’ll always be the opportunity to appeal the decision.

Things to think about

Informal and formal arrangements

For small changes to your working pattern, such as starting and finishing a bit earlier, or where you just want the change for a short period, we might be able to agree something informally. For permanent or more significant changes, we’ll need to do things more formally so we’ve created a Flexible Working Process to guide everyone through.

Before making a request

If you’re thinking of making a request it might be helpful to chat to your colleagues and your manager first to help understand if there are going to be any issues with what you’re looking to do, so you can think about ways round it or other options.

Flexible working meeting

Sometimes we might need to meet to discuss how the change could work, but not always. If we can agree the change without a meeting, we’ll quickly make that decision and send you a letter to confirm. If we think a meeting is needed, we’ll arrange this and then let you know our decision as soon as possible afterwards.

Trial period

If we agree a flexible working arrangement, it might be useful to have a trial period at first to see how things work out. How long we’ll trial it for will depend on the type of change and we’ll be sure to review it at the end of the trial to agree whether or not it’s meeting everyone’s needs.

Temporary arrangements

We know that sometimes flexible working is only needed for a short time, so temporary arrangements can be agreed if this would work for everyone, and we can always agree to extend the time if things change.

Impact on pay and benefits

Some flexible working arrangements may have an impact on your pay and benefits, including your pension, and also any state benefits or tax credits that you get. Contact your benefits provider and the Co-op Pensions Department to make sure you understand what could happen.


If your flexible working agreement includes working from home, please read the Homeworking Good Practice Guidelines below.

If you need further support

If you have questions about flexible working, please speak to your manager. The Flexible Working Process is on this site, and the Flexible Working Formal Meeting Guide is available on the Intranet. If managers need advice they can contact ER Services.

You may need additional support, so remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can help. You can contact the EAP in confidence on 0800 069 8854.