Disruption from cold snaps costs the British economy billions – but remote working still denied to 37% of workers

London – 10th February 2017 – 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 8x8.

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 lower1.

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 remotely2. 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.

The top five reactions workers have when they travel into work despite adverse conditions
1.    Annoyed being late to work55%
2.    Irritable45%
3.    Exhausted24%
4.    Less productive at work24%
5.    Resent management13%


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%).


The top five benefits of working remotely
1. Can balance work/home life more effectively60%
2. Work more productively52%
3. Less stressed51%
4.     Less tired with no commute46%
5.     More focused27%

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD of 8x8 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. 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.”

1 According to an analysis by the Cebr and 8x8

2 Research conducted with 1,000 office workers by 3GEM in December 2016.