Flexible working to contribute £148 billion to UK economy by 2030

A predicted boom in flexible working could contribute £148 billion to the UK economy by 2030, equating to 16 times the cost of the London 2012 Olympics, according to the a socio-economic study of changing workplace practices. The analysis, commissioned by Regus and conducted by independent economists, studied 16 key countries to delve into the state of flexible working now and predictions for 2030.

The study claims that 11 percent of all employment today is associated with flexible workspaces in the UK, the highest proportion among the 16 countries studied. However, the study reveals that whilst the UK has been quick to adopt flexible work practices, its growth may be less than other markets by 2030 depending on the economic outcome of Brexit.

The report predicts an overall £366 billion boost to global GVA by 2030 as a result of flexible working, with the UK predicted to see GVA increase by 64 percent, which represents a healthy £148 billion addition to the UK economy. However, the report found that the markets set to enjoy the biggest hike in GVA were China and India, which are predicted to see increases of 193 percent and 141 percent respectively. In Europe the best performer will be the Netherlands which is expected to see growth of 102 percent.

The smaller growth in the UK may be explained by the drivers of flexible working use being driven by financial services, information and communications, and business services. These are all industries currently expressing uncertainty about the outcome of the UK’s exit from the EU.

The study found that greater levels of flexible working will save businesses money, with flexible workspace solutions being up to 75 percent cheaper than traditional fixed real-estate alternatives. Likewise, it can reduce operating costs and boost productivity – ultimately causing a ripple effect across the economy from core businesses through to supply chains.

The specific benefits include higher business and personal productivity, lower overheads for office space for companies using flexible workspace, and millions of hours saved commuting. What’s more, more people working flexibly can also fuel increased economic activity via higher employee earnings. All of these factors contribute to flexible working’s gross value add (GVA) to the economy.

The study also claims that flexible working doesn’t just benefit economies – it also helps individuals. It suggests that in our time poor society, flexible working is set to save individuals in the UK 115 million hours of commuting time per annum, by 2030. That is equivalent to 14 million days spent at work. This was calculated via an accelerated growth model, which lays out a scenario for uptake of flexible working at a higher-than-current rate.