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Vodafone report reveals flexible working could save UK businesses £34bn every year

UK employers are squandering up to £34 billion by failing to implement flexible working arrangements, according to a new study released by mobile network giant Vodafone.

A survey of 500 business decision makers conducted in partnership with YouGov revealed that one in three bosses failed to consider working from home (opens in new tab) as a way of cutting costs, despite the average desk running more than £5,700 a year to maintain.

The report reveals that many employers cling to traditional principles regarding in-office working, with 21 per cent of managers saying that all employees should have their own desk space and 23 per cent claiming that their staff would abuse a work from home system.

British firms risk being "blinkered" by these old ideals, according to Vodafone's UK enterprise director, Jeroen Hoencamp.

"We need to get Britain working smarter and thinking about different ways of working. A potential saving of up to £34 billion is staggering and this research reveals businesses are underestimating the savings they can make through reducing the number of desks they have," he said.

Vodafone's study found that businesses could lose more than 40 desks on average, making for an annual saving of over £250,000 per organisation.

Despite the huge scope for savings, only 20 per cent of the business leaders surveyed said that they felt flexible working was a viable way of cutting desk space, though more than 75 per cent claimed to measure success by results rather than hours worked in-office.

James is a freelance editor, journalist, and writer with 10+ years experience in digital media, SEO and news writing. He has produced content on a number of Future sites, including TechRadar, ITProPortal, Tom's Guide, and T3, and was Senior Staff Writer at ITProPortal.