12 March 2013

Flexible working worth £34 billion to British businesses

New research by Vodafone has revealed that flexible working conditions in the UK could be worth £34 billion to the economy.

The YouGov poll, sponsored by the telecommunications giant, found that companies in Britain could save a huge sum of money by freeing up desk space and working more flexibly. However, the majority of UK business leaders still underestimate the enormity of savings at hand, with one in three (65 %) insisting their businesses can’t lose any desks.

According to the study, business owners and managers estimated they could lose an average of 46 desks by implementing flexible working arrangements. However, they vastly underestimated the value of those desks, citing an average saving of £441 per desk, which isn’t even close to the the £5,746 average cost of a desk in the UK.

One in five of those surveyed thought that their employees remained rooted to the old principle that everyone should have their own desk space, and roughly the same amount of respondents (23%) believed flexible working ultimately leads to employees taking advantage of the system.

Flexible working = smarter working

Jeroen Hoencamp, enterprise director at Vodafone UK, said: “We need to get Britain working
smarter and thinking about different ways of working. A potential saving of up to £34 billion is staggering and this research reveals businesses are underestimating the savings they can make through reducing the number of desks they have.

“Not only that, only a fifth of businesses think there’s an opportunity to lose desks, demonstrating a lack of understanding of how working differently can cut fixed costs. New ways of working will also bring other benefits such as improved productivity, increased efficiency and a happier workforce.”