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Flexible working contributes £37bn to the UK economy

Kelly Metcalf, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing at Fujitsu
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Employers need to shift focus from measuring productivity by their employees output, rather than hours in the office

Kelly Metcalf, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing at Fujitsu, looks at what it means to be truly flexible – and this means not just implementing remote working:

Yesterday (24 Nov), research firm Pramgatix Advisory found that flexible working contributes £37bn to the UK economy annually.

The research also linked flexibility to improved staff morale and productivity, forecasting that a 50% increase could create 51,200 new jobs and unlock £55bn for the UK economy.

2020 normalised flexible working, removing the previous stigma around it that it made people less productive.

Now, home working is no longer an optional ‘nice-to-have’ in many businesses and sectors; leaders learnt it’s not only a benefit for working mothers or those doing only certain types of jobs.

In actual fact, it gives people more ownership of their time, fitting work around their life, as opposed to the other way around.

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The force of circumstance last year meant that businesses have a better understanding of the benefits of remote working; productivity has risen, work-life balance has improved, less travel has reduced environmental impacts, the talent pool has widened and much more.

Now as we approach 2022, it’s about looking at whether a business is truly flexible and, that’s not just in terms of remote working; it equally applies to working patterns as well.

It’s important that we acknowledge employees’ many and varied personal circumstances, such as caring responsibilities, outside-of work interests and more.

We need to remain as flexible as possible in order to help people to effectively integrate their work and life commitments if we want to be able to attract the biggest pool of talent. This is all possible if employers shift focus, from measuring their employees productivity by output rather than hours in the office – or even online.

The opportunities for creating a more engaged and forward-looking workforce are endless when flexible working is fully unlocked.

Kelly Metcalf, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing at Fujitsu

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