Greater flexible working allowances could add £11.5 billion annually to the UK economy

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  • Study from Citrix and Centre for Economics and Business Research finds increased use of flexible working could save UK workers £7.1 billion in reduced commuting costs and over half a billion hours spent travelling
  • Improved flexible working culture also has the potential to encourage the economically inactive or unemployed individuals to return to work, potentially boosting GDP by up to 4.7%

 LONDON, UK – 8th December 2014:

Citrix, the leader in mobile workspaces, today revealed the results from its study with Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) into the potential economic impacts of a more widespread ‘work from anywhere’ culture in the UK. The study found that 96% of the UK knowledge worker population would take advantage of flexible working if made available to them. This could potentially add an extra £11.5bn per year to the UK economy through the more productive use of available working hours, the equivalent of 0.7% of GDP. In addition, more extensive flexible working practices could save commuters £7.1bn, with a reduction in commuting costs and time spent travelling (which also has a value).

“Over recent years many organisations have become firm advocates of the benefits of flexible working and this study verifies the impact such a culture can bring to the wider UK economy,” said Jacqueline de Rojas, Area Vice President, Northern Europe, Citrix. “Technology now enables us to work from anywhere, at any time. It is time to move on from judging workers on how long they spend at their desks to evaluating them on the work they actually deliver. By realising that employees do not have to be in the office from nine to five, employers will reap the benefits of an even more productive, contented workforce – and as illustrated here, reaching a new, untapped pool of talent in the process.”

Benefits to today’s workforce

The research also revealed that there is currently a high demand from employees in the UK to work more flexibly. 94% of UK knowledge workers would opt to work from home on average two days per working week. If organisational culture throughout the United Kingdom changed to allow for this, there would be savings in commuter costs of £3.8bn, with a further reduction of 533 million hours spent travelling to and from work annually (increasing these savings to £7.1bn the commuter value of time is taken into account). Such changes would result in an improved work-life balance as well as considerable financial gain for individuals.

Widening UK employment

In addition to improving the work/life balance of those currently in full-time employment, today’s report also indicates that the desire for more flexible working opportunities could deliver significant benefits to the wider UK economy by engaging people previously excluded. The research revealed that:

  • 68% of those currently unemployed, retired, carers, disabled, long-term sick or a full-time house-husband/wife would be inclined to start working if given the opportunity to work flexibly
  • Should this economically inactive part of the UK population re-enter the workforce due to a change in working culture, this could boost the UK’s GVA by up to £78.5bn (adding 7% to the total UK GDP)
  • 60% of part-time working respondents indicated that they would be inclined to work more hours if given the opportunity to work remotely. With 745,000 part-time workers in the UK who would like to work remotely, this could potentially create an additional £1.6bn in GVA output

Jacqueline de Rojas adds: “Businesses in the UK need to look very closely at the provisions they make for flexible working. Those that choose not to enable workplace mobility will lose out in the war for talent and could arguably suffer from lower employee productivity. The technology to make this happen is widely available, but we need to see a mentality shift to where it becomes an everyday part of working life.  The economic argument for flexible working is quite clear – the UK as a whole needs to contribute to a culture where anywhere, anytime working is the accepted norm.”

For supporting information and for a copy of the full study please visit: http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/dec-2014/greater-flexible-working-could-add-p11-5-billion-annually-to-the.html

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