How remote working is helping parents, carers and disabled people

Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
13 October 2021

While COVID has changed the world in many ways, one positive to come from the pandemic is the change to more flexible ways of working – something that Virgin has championed for many years. This has been especially beneficial to parents, carers and disabled people who were previously ‘locked out’ of employment, but can now thrive in jobs thanks to remote working.

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated digital progress by three years, according to a report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) for Virgin Media O2 Business. The impact of this is already apparent, with more businesses than ever allowing employees to work from home on a full-time or flexible basis. 

With so many workers having continued their jobs from their own homes throughout the pandemic, it’s clear that the UK is ready to adjust to a world where people no longer need to be in an office from nine to five.


The CEBR report shows that hybrid working – allowing employees to work from home or the office – improves access to jobs. According to the research:

  • Remote working increases access to work, with a potential £48.3 billion boost to the economy as part-time employees increase their hours

  • Just under four million people who were previously ‘locked out’ of employment (including 1.5 million disabled people, 1.2 million parents and 500,000 carers) would be more inclined to take a job that offers remote working

  • 46% of the UK’s 8.6 million part-time workers would increase their hours if they could mainly work remotely – by an average of five hours a week, a total of 1.27 billion annually

Ruth Rainbow, senior resourcing manager at Virgin Media O2 Business, sees remote working as a “lifeline for carers like [her]”. In a piece for The Independent, she says: “After I graduated, I worked in an agency environment for over a decade. I loved the long days, late nights and high salary. But all that stopped when my son was diagnosed as autistic and dyspraxic. In addition to being a full-time professional, I was suddenly a carer too. My working world was never the same again.


“Having to care for my children meant that I was left out of the everyday in-person interactions that can make or break a career. My responsibilities mean I’ve had to take roles within a two or three-mile radius of school, and it’s limited what I’ve been able to do professionally.”

Ruth adds: “As a professional, remote working has also opened up new opportunities for me to engage with my colleagues across the UK. The switch to remote and hybrid working means that I’ve been able to form relationships with colleagues and work effectively without needing to be in person. The breadth of interaction I have with my team and the broader business is the best it’s ever been. And frankly, I’m getting more work done as a result.”

Read the full CEBR report on Virgin Media O2 Business to learn more about how hybrid working can benefit everyone.