Flexible Working Still Not On Offer to 37% of Employees Says 8×8

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Despite bad weather costing the UK billions in lost productivity every year, many office workers are never allowed to work remotely, according to research from communications experts 8×8.

Analysis from economists at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) reveals that when minimum temperatures are just one degree Celsius lower than average, quarterly GDP is on average £2.5 billion lower.

One main cause is lost productivity, as transport links and staff availability suffer when the weather is poor. Yet new research out today reveals nearly four in ten office workers (37%) say their business never allows them to work remotely. Worryingly, even when staff are allowed to work from home, more than six in ten (63%) are not always comfortable requesting it. A further one in five (20%) are never comfortable asking to work from home.

Businesses don’t just face lost productivity by preventing remote working, but also risk alienating staff. When workers are told they must travel into work and face travel delays or freezing temperatures, more than one in ten (13%) feel resentment towards management.

Conversely, those companies that trust their employees to work remotely see a range of benefits, with 81% of office workers saying they also feel more loyal to their employer as a result. More than half of office workers (52%) also claim that they work more productively as a result and are less stressed (51%).

At the end of 2016 8×8 announced the next generation of its international channel programme, Channel 2.0. This builds on the support and partner programme launched in the UK earlier in 2016. The programme is designed to enable 8×8 partners to accelerate growth by taking full advantage of the industry shift from product-based on premises solutions to cloud communications and to deliver maximum customer value.

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD of 8×8 commented, “It’s clear that when trusted to make their own decisions about remote working, staff are more loyal, happier and ultimately more productive. This is even more important when the weather turns cold or strikes make it difficult to travel in. Until now, the technical infrastructure to enable remote working and guard against disruption has been out of reach for many companies, but cloud solutions are changing this. With the right technology in place, remote working can be a seamless experience that makes sure it’s business as usual for customers, whatever the weather.”

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Travel disruptions have impacted workers this year as rail and tube strikes have dragged on for weeks in the UK, a recent survey found that over half (53%) of employed adults arrive to work stressed due to problems with their commute. Alongside this, road works and infrastructure changes have disrupted many of the UK’s roads and motorways. Alongside adverse weather conditions delays in commuting are also putting pressure on employers to provide flexible working conditions.