Ignoring calls for flexible working could be costing the economy £12 Billion

Friday, 12 October 2018

The UK could be risking £12 billion a year in economic output if employers do not fully embrace flexibility within five years, a new study has revealed.

The report, developed by workforce management expert Quinyx in collaboration with Development Economics and Censuswide, calculated that by embracing and implementing more flexible working arrangements in the future, UK businesses could generate an output of £570 billion per year through flexible working by 2023. This is compared to an output of £558 billion per year if existing flexible working trends continue.

While ONS statistics show that an additional 1.3 million workers enjoyed flexible working arrangements in 2017 compared to 2011, 73% say they still face issues when it comes to flexibility in their current work schedules.
A rigid schedule can also harm the work/life balance of employees - 15% of UK workers say that a lack of flexibility sometimes makes them feel isolated from friends and family, while one in ten say it is having or has had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Nearly a fifth of UK workers say that they would be more productive if given more flexible working opportunities.

The research also uncovered barriers for achieving greater flexibility. Two thirds of UK workers (67%) reported that they face barriers when it comes to achieving greater flexibility at work, with the employer reactions top of their concerns. 16% of workers say that their manager would react badly to a request for greater flexibility, and another 15% worry that it would negatively impact their career progression.

“But, it’s clear that the current mindset needs to change. Flexibility does not need to mean increased costs and logistical nightmares; in fact, with the right tools in place, it’s simple and economical. And by increasing flexibility, employers will give workers a voice and a choice, ultimately increasing productivity, retention and their overall performance.”Erik Fjellborg, CEO and Founder of Quinyx, said employers need to change their attitudes towards flexibility. “Widening skills gaps, a lag in productivity and Brexit on the horizon mean British businesses are struggling to find, hire and retain the workers they need,” he said. “Flexible working is an untapped solution to the UK’s biggest business challenges: the more employees are able to choose the right schedule for them, the happier - and therefore more productive - they’ll be.

“But, it’s clear that the current mindset needs to change. Flexibility does not need to mean increased costs and logistical nightmares; in fact, with the right tools in place, it’s simple and economical. And by increasing flexibility, employers will give workers a voice and a choice, ultimately increasing productivity, retention and their overall performance.”

Source : HR Grapevine