The flexible future of work

By Katy Liddell, Director Business Sales & Service at O2

When the COVID-19 virus struck the UK, no one predicted the sudden changes that would so quickly become the “new normal”.

In just over six weeks, the pandemic has radically changed our lives. Once diverse high streets have been replaced with queues for supermarkets (two meters apart, of course). Once bustling commuter trains have emptied out, and diaries and schedules, jam-packed with social events, have been cleared at short notice.

One of the biggest changes has been to the way we work. Overnight the country was shut down, and many businesses and employees were suddenly working from home. Just like that, we came to rely on technology and mobile connectivity to work in a way that many wouldn’t have considered possible before.

Today we’re unveiling O2 Business research to help businesses understand the impact COVID-19 is having on the workforce. Our report The Flexible Future of Work, indicates that employees will be reluctant to give up their new way of working when the lockdown is lifted. Nearly half (45%) of the workforce believe flexible working will increase permanently, and a third (33%) expect to increase the amount they work from home by at least three days a week.

Once perceived as a bonus, flexible working (after salary) is now considered the most important workplace benefit employees consider when taking a new role.

Set against this context, digital infrastructure and connectivity have surpassed physical infrastructure in terms of their importance to the business. The value and possibilities of technology and mobile connectivity have never been so evident.

The government has set out its plan for coming out of the lockdown. In some instances, those unable to work from home are now being encouraged to return to work, avoiding public transport where possible. For many though, there remains ongoing speculation about what the world of work will look like in the future, and the government is advising people to prepare for a new type of normal.

While it’s difficult to gauge what the future working world will look like, we are seeing that the demand for flexible working beyond the pandemic is accelerating. We understand the challenges that this will bring employers and that it has never been more crucial for businesses to keep their workforce connected.

From additional software to replace the water cooler, more security to keep documents safe, or connectivity to get people in-touch quicker, business needs are changing at an accelerated rate. At O2 Business, we remain committed to supporting businesses as they navigate through these challenging times.

Get in touch with us if you want to speak to someone about your changing business needs.

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