Brit workers spend 131 million hours a week working flexibly

  • O2 Business is encouraging more people to work smarter by adopting the latest digital technology
  • 46% of UK workers find their local coffee shop a more productive environment than their office
  • Over a quarter of those surveyed would choose to work from the ‘coffice’ if given the option, with 54% unaware of upcoming changes to flexible working Government legislation

The high street coffee shop is becoming an increasingly attractive place to work despite a widespread lack of awareness of forthcoming changes to flexible working legislation, according to a new study by O2 Business. Research has found that two fifths of UK workers are now spending over four hours (half a day) a week working flexibly from the ‘coffice’, as opposed to sitting at their office desks.

The study into changing working behaviour found that over a quarter (26%) of workers across the country would choose to work from their local coffee shop if their employers encouraged flexible working. 46% of those polled said they are more productive in this setting, while 47% stated they choose to work from a café as they enjoy the change in environment.

This trend of remote working from the ‘coffice’ compared to the more traditional office is set to continue, despite 54% of UK workers being unaware of the Government’s legislative changes to the right to request flexible working, taking effect on 30th June. A third (30%) of the younger generation (18-24) prefers to work whilst enjoying a hot drink, compared to just 14% of over 55s.

The research also revealed that the number of those working flexibly from coffee shops decreases as the employer gets bigger, with 22% of small business employees working from this space against only 15% working for a company of over 250+ people. Unsurprisingly, those who are self-employed are more likely to work from a local café with a third adopting for this way of working.

Alison Heeks, Marketing Director, Costa UK Retail commented:

“As the UK’s favourite coffee shop brand, Costa is proud to offer an exceptional experience each time our customers visit one of our stores. We have noticed an increase in the number of customers using our stores to work or hold a client meeting, and as you would expect, we’re happy to provide a relaxing and welcoming environment whether that be for work or pleasure.”

O2 Business is encouraging workers across the country to work smarter and be more flexible by making use of the latest digital technology on offer. Cloud based software such as Microsoft Office 365 and tools such as Pop Up Office, a portable 4G mobile hotspot, mean that a mobile office can be set up in minutes.

Paul Lawton Head of Small Business for O2 said:

“It’s great to see an increasing number of people working away from the office and this is something I think we will continue to see in the future. I hope more people will be encouraged to work flexibly in light of the Government’s changes to the legislation.

“At O2 we’re continuously helping our business customers meet the needs of both the company and their employees in an increasingly digital Britain. Equipping workers with the latest technology, underpinned by superfast 4G or WiFi connectivity will undoubtedly help them to become more productive.”

For those who are coffee shop working fanatics, O2 Business has the following Dos and Don’ts for working whilst getting your caffeine fix:

o    DON’T make loud calls on your mobile – stick to email or go outside

o    If you’re connecting your power source DO keep the long wires out of the way. You don’t want someone tripping up with a very hot coffee in their hand!

o    If you need to pop away from your table DON’T assume someone will look after your belongings – ask a nearby person politely!

o    DO respect others around you and don’t treat the place like it’s your own personal space. Your coffee shop neighbours may not appreciate having to unwillingly participate in your weekly team meetings

o    DON’T discuss confidential information in a public place. Whether it’s sensitive information about your clients, or a fellow worker’s appraisal, these kind of meetings should be kept in a private place

o    If you’re planning on some long haul coffee shop working DO make sure you keep buying a drink. There’s nothing worse than a table hogger nursing the same mug for hours on end!

o    Looking for Wi-Fi? Coffee chains such as Costa offer Wi-Fi free for all customers. No Wi-Fi? No problem! 4G service now mean you can check your emails from your phone, laptop or tablet just as quickly

For more information on working flexibly visit O2 Business.