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Flexible working – Extended hybrid working brings freedom to ‘locked out’ workers

An increase in hybrid working could bring 3.8 million people previously unable to work back into employment, including 1.5 million disabled people, 500,000 carers, 1.2 million parents and 600,00 unemployed, and enable part-time workers to increase their working hours.

So claim Virgin Media O2 Business and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) in a new report that highlights the possible impact of more flexible working on the number of hours worked by the unemployed and part-time workers. 

  • 45% of those currently unemployed say they would be able to start work again if they could do so remotely, including unemployed carers (52%), parents (49%) and disabled people (40%); 
  • nearly half (43%) of the UK’s 8.6 million part-time workers say they would work more hours if their employer would let them work remotely. On average, hybrid working would enable part-time employees to work 5.1 more hours each week, putting up to £3,600 extra in their pockets every year and leading to 1.27 billion more hours worked; 
  • informal carers say they could work up to 7 additional hours per week, earning them an additional £92 every week, or £4,800 annually. 

Overall, cebr estimates that greater flexible working could boost GDP by £48.3bn every year – equivalent to a 2.4% uplift in GDP – from extra hours worked in hybrid roles. 

On top of this, the report suggests that greater investment in technologies that enable hybrid working could add an extra £76bn to UK GDP by 2025, driving an uplift of £236bn by 2040. 

Jo Bertram, Managing Director, Business and Wholesale at Virgin Media O2, said: “Covid-19 means hybrid working is no longer a nice to have – it’s become an expected and essential part of modern work which boosts the business bottom line while creating opportunities for nearly four million people currently locked out of jobs. 

“By unlocking a deeper pool of talent and creating opportunities for more people, hybrid working offers businesses and society the opportunity to bounce back stronger. Organisations that embrace it will sprint ahead by attracting the best people, boosting productivity and creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

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