Storm Doris causes commuter chaos, raising questions on remote working

Storm Doris causes commuter chaos, raising questions on remote working

Cold snaps, storms and floods cost the UK billions in lost productivity every year – however, many office workers are still denied the right to work remotely.  

When minimum temperatures are just one degree Celsius below average, quarterly GDP drops by an average of £2.5billion, an analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research reveals.

The main cause of this cost is lost productivity, with disruption to transport reducing staff availability. However, new research by communications firm 8x8 finds that almost four in ten office workers (37%) say their business never allows them to work remotely.

Even when staff are allowed to work from home, more than six in ten (63%) are not always comfortable requesting it. One in five say they are never comfortable asking to work from home.

However, this can damage employee morale, with workers who are told they must travel in despite treacherous weather conditions feeling resentment towards management.

Over half of workers (55%) feel annoyed when weather conditions have caused them to be late for work, 24% feel exhausted and less productive, and 13% feel resentment.

Firms that embrace remote working, however, experience a more pleasant reaction from staff, with 81% of feeling more loyal to their employer. More than half of office workers (52%) also claim that flexible working actually heightens their productivity, and are subsequently less stressed (51%). Just under half (46%) feel less tired from not commuting in.

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK Managing Director of 8x8, comments: “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.”

Separate research by Towergate has found that British SMEs lose an average of 14.7 hours a year due to bad weather. The amount of lost time increased in the engineering and building sectors (20.8 hours), manufacturing and utilities (19.6 hours) and transport (19.7 hours).

The data also found that many British SMEs are not prepared for the effects of bad weather.

66% of SMEs report losing revenue due to treacherous conditions and almost a third (31%) have suffered weather-related damage to property over the last five years.

Joe Thelwell, Advisory CEO at Towergate, comments: “With millions of people’s livelihoods depending on SMEs, it is crucial that these businesses take steps to better prepare for bad weather so they can get up and running as soon as possible. Practically, that could include backing-up computer systems and records, identifying contingency premises or taking out specific policies.”

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Comments (1)

  • Sir
    Mon, 27 Feb 2017 1:16pm GMT
    This is desperately sad - a bit of wind and rain and the fabric of society starts to unravel ravel far too easily.
    We all just need to toughen up.
    Every time there's a story like this, there's another one that describes a person, usually at least in their 60s, who just got up a bit earlier and got stuck in, walking through the snow if necessary.
    Or, as cyclists would recognise - Rule #5.

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