Jacqueline de Rojas is Area Vice President for Citrix in Northern Europe, working to help people and businesses to work anywhere, anytime and on any device. She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Home Retail Group PLC and President of techUK. Jacqueline studied European Business at Middlesex University.
“…If organisational culture throughout the United Kingdom changed…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…”
Smart employers moving past presenteeism
By realising that employees do not have to be in the office from nine to five, employers will start to be able to close both the skills gap and the gender gap. 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 – and reach a new, untapped pool of talent in the process.
To try and understand the true impact of mobile working, we partnered with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) to examine 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 that have the option of flexible working utilise this opportunity, whilst 83% would do so if made available to them. According to Cebr, this could 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).
Benefits to today’s workforce
The research also revealed that there is 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 could 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, the 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 4.7% 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
Over recent years many organisations, including Citrix, have become firm advocates of the benefits of flexible working. This study verifies the impact that such a culture can bring to the wider UK economy – technology can and should enable us to work from anywhere, at any time. When I think how much talent we could reclaim just from working mums and dads who have to choose between work and soaring child care costs, the benefits are enormous.
Organisations that choose not to enable workplace mobility will lose out
Ultimately 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 economic argument for flexible working is clear and the UK could grasp the opportunity to create a culture of anywhere, anytime and on any device as the accepted norm.
For a copy of the full study please click here.