These are the 20 best companies for work-life balance in the UK

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Moya Crockett
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In an age where technology has made it almost impossible to switch off entirely from the office, we’d all like to achieve a better work-life balance. But it goes without saying that some workplaces facilitate this more than others. You might strike it lucky, and have a boss who practically throws you out the door at 5.30pm. Or you might find yourself stuck in a company that expects its employees to be contactable and ready to work at all hours.

If a good work-life balance is important to you, it’s worth doing your research before accepting a job at a new company. Which is why we’re always intrigued to read the annual report by Glassdoor, an anonymous careers site where employees can leave scathing or glowing reviews of their workplaces.

Using these reviews, Glassdoor has calculated which companies offer the best work-life balance in the UK.

“Companies are realising that you can get more out of your workforce if you create an environment where people feel it is OK to take time out and be flexible with the working week,” David Whitby, UK Country Manager at Glassdoor, tells Business Insider.

“At the end of the day, employers that trust their staff to do their job to the best of their ability, and recognise that everyone has commitments and interests outside the office, will create more loyalty.”

Read on for the UK’s top 20 companies for work-life balance. Don’t be confused by the repeating numbers – several of the entries are tied.

4) Google

Work-life balance score: 4.0

The tech giant opened a huge new office in London in June 2016, where its 2000+ employees enjoy similar perks to their Silicon Valley counterparts (think free food, massages and access to a 90m running track). But Google also comes in joint fourth place for work-life balance, with one former employee telling Glassdoor that they were able to maintain a “great” equilibrium between their lives in and outside of the office.

4) Rolls Royce

Work-life balance score: 4.0

Tying with Google for fourth place is luxury car and engineering manufacturer Rolls Royce, which has its headquarters in Derby. An employee review on Glassdoor commended the company’s “good benefits” and “work-life balance”, as well as its “collaborative environment [and] extensive training opportunities”.

4) BAE Systems

Work-life balance score: 4.0

This aerospace and military firm is one of the largest defence companies in the world, building fighter planes, submarines, aircraft carriers and other munitions. Employees approve of the corporation’s “good terms and conditions”, “flexible times” and bonuses, and a positive work-life balance.

4) Unilever

Work-life balance score: 4.0

Also at fourth place is Unilever, which owns major food and beauty brands including Dove, Hellmann’s and Magnum. “It’s a proud feeling to be associated with such an ethical company with high values,” one London-based employee writes on Glassdoor. “Fantastic work-life balance, wellbeing programmes and clear business vision.”

4) Yell

Work-life balance score: 4.0

Based in Reading, Yell started life as the old Yellow Pages directory. Today, it’s an online marketer and directory business. One long-term employee describes their goal as “transforming a business from a household brand to a leader in digital technology”, and cites the company’s “flexible, good working conditions”, “good transport links”, and the fact that staff “advocate for work-life balance”.

4) Rank Group

Work-life balance score: 4.0

This gambling group is the force behind Mecca bingo and Grosvenor Casinos. “Management like to promote a work-life balance, often suggesting I ‘go home’ if I’m still working past 5.30pm,” says one employee. “[It’s a] team of friendly people who are willing to offer advice when required.”

4) Mott MacDonald

Work-life balance score: 4.0

Mott MacDonald is a London-based consultancy firm specialising in management, engineering and development, and also comes fourth in the Glassdoor rankings. According to a review by one design engineer, it offers a “good work-life balance” and is “rich in knowledge sharing”.

4) TeacherActive

Work-life balance score: 4.0

When you were at school, did you ever wonder where supply teachers came from? Today, many of them are recruited through an agency like TeacherActive, which calls in teachers for last-minute cover.

“One of the best things about TeacherActive is their flexibility; they were extremely accommodating, especially because I had another job during half the week and shifts would often change,” says one Manchester-based teacher, adding: “Working there was a really positive and encouraging experience.”

4) ScrewFix

Work-life balance score: 4.0

ScrewFix is the UK’s largest retailer of builders’ equipment, with headquarters in Yeovil, Somerset. A Glassdoor review praises the company’s “great work life balance [and] great sense of belonging”, as well as the fact that it offers employees the chance to “create and develop” themselves and their teams.

4) Proctor and Gamble

Work-life balance score: 4.0

Proctor and Gamble owns beauty and personal care brands including Always, Tampax, Aussie, Herbal Essences and Pantene. Its UK offices are in Weybridge, Surrey, and staff laud the office culture of offering “great flexibility at work” and a positive “work-life balance”.

3) Cisco Systems

Work-life balance score: 4.1

Multinational tech firm Cisco Systems is based in Silicon Valley but has offices all over Great Britain and Ireland, from Dublin to Reading, Manchester and Edinburgh.  “Great work-life balance,” offers one employee, who adds that once hired by Cisco, “leaving is a bit difficult”.

3) Peninsula Business Services

Work-life balance score: 4.1

Peninsula Business Services helps businesses in the UK and Ireland manage their employees more effectively, by offering human resources, employment law and health and safety training and support. And according to its Glassdoor ranking, its own staff are pretty happy.

“It’s the best job I've had allowing me to meet so many different people and help businesses with their HR matters,” writes one employee.

2) HomeServe UK

Work-life balance score: 4.2

This home insurance and emergency repairs company has one of the highest ratings for work-life balance out of all the companies listed on Glassdoor. “[There are] lots of opportunities to grow as the business expands, good values [and] an entrepreneurial spirit,” according to one employee.

2) American Express

Work-life balance score: 4.2

Also at second place is the US credit card corporation, which has its main UK office is in Brighton. Staff praise the “good work-life balance” and “great flexibility”.

2) Lookers

Work-life balance score: 4.2

This London-based car dealership is “customer and staff focused,” says one employee, who also commends the “excellent leadership from the top”. It almost, but not quite, clinches the top spot for offering staff a good work-life balance.

1) Expedia

Work-life balance score: 4.3

Coming in at number one – and the only company to achieve a work-life balance score of 4.3 – is travel search engine Expedia. “Expedia as a whole is great with many benefits, tools and resources to do your job and enjoy work-life balance,” writes one former employee on Glassdoor. Another employee agrees, citing the business’ “great work-life balance” and flexibility.

Images: iStock / Rex Features