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Reaching a positive financial return on investment in flexible working

Our third and final report in the ‘Fair Flexible Futures’ programme demonstrates the financial case for frontline firms to invest in flexible working. The results show that break-even is reached surprisingly quickly, through savings in costs relating to sickness absence and staff churn.

Fair Flexible Futures 3 report

In frontline sectors, which often run on tight margins and with an acceptance that staff churn is high, it’s particularly difficult to make a business case for investment in flexible working. But frontline workers have borne the brunt of the pandemic, whilst seeing other workers reap the benefits of increased homeworking and flexible hours. In the face of acute skills shortages, employers need to level up by seeking flexible solutions for frontline workers, or risk losing even more of them.

Following on from successful pilot programmes in five frontline sectors (retail, construction, social care, teaching and the NHS), Timewise commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies to undertake a break-even analysis of investing in flexible working. IES calculated how quickly the benefits of improved retention and reduced sickness absence could offset the costs of a typical programme.

The findings make a strong case: within just a few years, savings begin to outweigh the costs of implementing flexible working, and begin to deliver financial returns.

We hope this powerful analysis will help fill the evidence gap on flexible working ROI, and provide the impetus for employers and policymakers to prioritise investment in changes to working patterns, for the benefit of business, the individuals they employ, and society as a whole.

Published April 2022

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