One in 10 staff use free time to care for family

Working from home could release an average of two hours a day for employees, with one in 10 using the extra time to care for family members, according to new research.

A study by Virgin Media O2 Business and the Centre for Economics and Business Research calculated the potential cost savings to the NHS by analysing how hybrid working could allow employees to work while also caring for family and friends, and also create savings for the UK government.

The report revealed that by considering the average time non-parents spend caring for family members, 211 million hours could be unlocked through remote working, which would result in a £3.1 billion saving to the NHS every year.

Two in five (41%) said they are already or would exercise more if they could work flexibly, which would reduce the UK’s level of adult inactivity by a third, while 82% admitted that time working away from the office has been positive for their mental wellbeing, and 79% have seen their physical health improve.

In addition, employees now expect to work remotely 2.5 days per week, which aligns with company leaders requirements for them to work remotely 2.3 days per week. As a result, 85% found that working remotely offers them more time to relax, see family and friends, or spend time doing hobbies.

Jo Bertram, managing director of business and wholesale at Virgin Media O2, explained that hybrid working provides an opportunity to create happier, healthier employees, with organisations that embrace the benefits of hybrid working likely to sprint ahead by attracting top talent, boosting productivity and creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

“Organisations large and small need to embrace flexible working as an essential part of modern life and build on their momentum by committing to a hybrid digital future. That investment in technology will help boost the bottom line and give everyone in society the opportunity to bounce back stronger,” Bertram said.