Greater work flexibility could open up job opportunities for 1.3 million people in the UK who have caring responsibilities, disabilities and those who live in rural areas, according to a study.
Research from the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by LinkedIn, found that adapting working conditions to make employment more inclusive and removing the barriers that keep many people from working could add potential £40 billion to UK GDP.
By providing flexible work opportunities, an additional 600,000 people with disabilities, 284,000 with dependent children, 306,000 with adult family responsibilities and 104,000 from rural areas could access the workplace.
A separate LinkedIn search involving C-suite executives found that 86% say the pandemic has triggered an overhaul of flexible and remote working.
Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said: “The pandemic has caused the biggest change in the workplace in a generation, prompting businesses of all types and sizes to reassess the way they operate. As companies continue to adapt to this new world of work, they have a huge opportunity to rethink workplace policies with inclusivity at their core.
“This study shows that by allowing greater flexibility, businesses can help level the playing field and open up new employment opportunities for around 1.3 million people in the UK.”
CEO of CEBR, Nina Skero, said, “The hybrid office model will by no means remove all of the structural barriers faced by the highlighted demographic groups. Nonetheless, it gives optimism for a more inclusive workforce.
“Realizing this potential comes with its own set of challenges, however, and it is incumbent on companies to take initiatives to ensure inclusivity is a key part of their agenda.”
It has been reported that more than 3,000 workers from 60 organizations are due to take part in a UK trial of a four-day working week with no loss of pay.
The trial, which will run from June to December, is believed to be the largest workweek reduction trial to have taken place in the world, following a program involving more than 2,500 workers in Iceland.
The pilot project is coordinated by campaign group 4 Day Week Global, 4 Day Week UK Campaign, think tank Autonomy and the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Boston College in the US.
Joe O’Connor, managing director of 4 Day Week Global, told the Guardian: “Increasingly, managers and executives are embracing a new model of working that focuses on the quality of results, not the quantity of results. ‘time.
“Workers have emerged from the pandemic with different expectations of what constitutes a healthy work-life balance.”
Among the organizations that have signed up for the trial are Atom Bank, Canon Medical Research, Panasonic, Unilever and the Royal Society of Biology.