UK retail businesses could make an extra £792m per year in economic output by 2023, if they embrace flexible working, a new study has found.
The report, developed by workforce management expert Quinyx in collaboration with Development Economics and Censuswide, calculated that by implementing more flexible working arrangements, UK retail businesses could generate an output of £41.07bn per year by 2023, compared to £40.27bn per year if existing working trends continued.
Over two thirds of UK retail workers (71%) said they face barriers when it comes to achieving greater flexibility at work, 63% of retail workers said there are calls for increased flexibility, whether that’s from employees, employers, unions or customers.
A total of 14% of UK retail workers said a lack of flexibility makes them feel isolated from friends and family, while one in ten (9%) said it is having or has had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. A total of 16% of retail workers say that they would be more productive if given more flexible working opportunities.
CEO and founder of Quinyx, Erik Fjellborg, said: “Flexible working is an untapped solution to the retail industry’s biggest challenges: the more employees are able to choose the right schedule for them, the happier - and therefore more productive - they’ll be.”
The report details that women, young professionals and blue-collar workers are hit hardest as they are most likely to have zero-hours contracts. The number of zero-hour contracts in the UK increased by 674% in the UK between 2011 and 2017.
Fjellborg added: “While zero-hours contracts work for some, many of the other formal flexible working arrangements that are currently in place are for men in white collar industries. It is essential that business leaders and managers address this and ‘unforget’ this previously forgotten workforce.”