A new study by Virgin Media O2 Business and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has shows that the proliferation of hybrid working could add £48.3bn to the UK economy each year.
This figure could reach £76bn by 2025 through continued investment in hybrid working technology.
The study surveyed 502 decision-makers between July 1 and 10. A separate survey of 2,000 consumers was conducted between the 13 and 17 July 2021.
As it stands, many – such as parents, carers and disabled people – are “locked out” of work. More efficient and intuitive hybrid working tech could introduce, or reintroduce, these groups to the workforce.
The study found that 45% of unemployed Brits would be able to start working if they could do so remotely. Unemployed carers were among the main beneficiaries, with 52% more inclined to work remotely, along with parents (49%) and disabled people (40%) whose circumstances mean that office-based work isn’t suitable.
In total, an additional 3.8 million people could enter the workforce through remote working, including 1.2 million parents, 1.5 million people with disabilities, 500,000 with caring responsibilities and 600,000 others who are currently out of work.
Part-time workers could also be beneficiaries, with the mass-adoption of hybrid working potentially adding an additional 1.27 billion hours worked every year – an extra £3,600 a year of extra income, or, £69 every week.
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The study comes as the government has announced proposals on flexible working which are expected to give employees the right to request flexible working arrangements as soon as they start a job as opposed to having to wait six months.
There’s a growing sentiment towards the benefits of working at home. Just over a third (36%) of employees reported being more productive and 20% being less distracted when working at home.
Commenting on the study, managing director of business and wholesale at Virgin Media O2, Jo Bertram, said: “Covid-19 means hybrid working is no longer a nice thing 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. The UK has made years of digital progress over the past 18 months and now’s the time for business leaders to build on this momentum and commit to a hybrid digital future.
“That means investing in technology that helps people work smarter, boosts productivity, all while helping achieve better societal outcomes and adding £236bn to the UK economy.” she added.