DataSolutions recently revealed the findings of a commissioned survey that found that a higher uptake of flexible working among Irish knowledge workers would add €2.5 billion to the Irish economy, through increases in employment and productivity. Part of my role within DataSolutions is to carry out this type of research but from a professional and personal level it got me thinking! As a working mum of three kids, what would I do without flexible working?

Take this week for example, my five year old started back in senior infants, my middle little man started pre-school, my one year old beginning a new playgroup and in work we are officially launching a new conference taking place in October! Naturally as a ‘mum’ I wanted to be the one to do the first week of drop offs and collections and of course they all started and finished at different times while at the same time wanted to ensure everything ran according to plan with the conference launch!

I work in a company that fully supports flexible working for everyone not just the parents so for me my week was just fine. It’s not about being at the office from 9-5pm its about getting the job done well! Indeed the survey results dispel the common misconception among non-users that flexible working negatively impacts professionalism, access management and job progression. Instead, the results show that 42% of flexible workers are willing to work extra hours each week, which is worth a potential €827m to the Irish economy each year. Of these, 61% would be willing to work up to eight hours extra a week, remotely. At 86%, the majority of knowledge workers claim flexible working drives productivity and increases output.

Furthermore the survey discovered that economically inactive knowledge workers, such as those who are unemployed, disabled or students, would be encouraged to return to work if remote working conditions were available. Interestingly, 71% of unemployed or economically inactive individuals want to re-enter the workforce. This group provides the largest potential for economic gains potentially adding €1.64 billion to the Irish economy.

How would I have managed my personal and professional commitments this week if I didn’t work in an organisation that fully supports flexible working and has the right technology to back it up? I settled my kids in their various new environments, was the one who gave the ‘hug and kiss’ while still doing a job I really enjoy. I for one really value the ability to work flexibly!