Flexible working could generate £8bn for UK economy

UK organisations could enjoy cost reductions and productivity gains of up to £8.1 billion by optimising their approach to flexible working, according to research by think tank RSA and Vodafone UK.

The Flex factor report, based on a national survey of 2,828 employees and employers, found that more than three-quarters (77%) of employee respondents work in organisations that offer some kind of flexible working, with 64% claiming that it has enhanced their job satisfaction.

But 13% of respondents who want to work flexibly are not being offered the opportunity, or do not know they can ask for it.

Jeroen Hoencamp, enterprise director at Vodafone UK, said: “The traditional workplace is dead and British business needs to adopt a new mind-set.

Flexible working isn’t just working from home, and these findings reveal that, with an optimised approach, organisations can overcome any downsides and greatly increase efficiency and productivity, as well as boost their bottom line.

“We want to see organisations and their employees work well and live well. In the global race for growth, organisations should embrace better ways of working consciously as a strategy for success as opposed to ignoring them. Employers can see real, tangible benefits by taking this approach, as this research demonstrates.”

Julian Thompson, director of enterprise at the RSA, added: “Our report aims to capture some of the value better ways of working can bring at all levels of the economy.

“It’s got to be something that organisations and employees develop together as part of a strategy to increase the value of their work.

“Our findings show that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and that there are costs to be considered. But enabling people to work flexibly can make a significant difference to our economic and social prosperity, both now and in the future.”