Increased flexible working could unlock £55bn for the UK economy

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The second report from our partnership with Sir Robert McAlpine is now live! And it will change the way that we talk about flexible working forever.

For six years, Flex Appeal has campaigned for greater adoption of flexible working, knowing it was better for both employees and employers – and now we can show that it’s better for the UK economy too.

You see our new report ‘Flexonomics’ on flexible working has revealed the economic contribution of flexible working is a huge £37billion. The first in-depth report of its kind also forecasts that a 50% increase in current flexible working rates could result in a net economic gain of £55bn, alongside the creation of 51,200 new jobs.

As the Government tries to level up regions with lower economic and employment outcomes, flexibility is crucial. When lifting the economy out of a pandemic shaped hole, flexibility is a huge boost to productivity. It is already making a substantial contribution, but imagine what we could do with the extra funding if we harnessed the power of flexibility further; investing in childcare infrastructure for example.

A staggering finding from the report revealed that there is a cost to businesses for simply saying no to flexible working requests, to the tune of almost £2bn per year.

Even sectors considered ‘hard’ to flex stand to reap significant economic benefits. This is something pioneers, like Sir Robert McAlpine, already appreciate – there is both a strong workforce wellbeing and a commercial case for increasing flexible working. This report is a wake-up call for businesses who are turning a blind eye to flexibility because that lack of vision is a cost to the business. A cost that could be turned into profit.

Flexible working has never been about location. It’s always been about inclusion. It’s about including talent. Talent with caring responsibilities, talent living with disabilities. People who are looking to work in a human - or even humane - way that’s ultimately good for business. Now we can prove that there’s a direct link between flexibility and profitability. That an uptake in flexible working will boost the UK economy, too. If we want to ‘Build Back Better’, now is the time for businesses to use flexible working as the foundation.

Flexible working opens doors, lets people in, and ultimately drives profit to the bottom line.