Storm Doris is currently raging across the UK, causing travel chaos and winds up to 94mph. Despite nationwide disruption facing commuters, new research from communications firm 8×8 suggests that many employers still value presenteeism over efficiency, as more that one in three workers were not allowed to work from home.
Bad weather notoriously costs the UK billions in lost productivity every year, yet the fact that many office workers are never allowed to work remotely suggests that businesses may not be as mobile as they need to be.
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 of the main reasons is lost productivity, as transport links and staff availability suffer when the weather is poor. Yet new research out today reveals 37 per cent say their business never allows them to work remotely. Even when staff are allowed to work from home, more than six in ten are not always comfortable requesting it. A further 20 per cent 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 reportedly feel resentment towards management.
|The top five reactions workers have when they travel into work despite adverse conditions|
|1. Annoyed being late to work||55%|
|4. Less productive at work||24%|
|5. Resent management||13%|
Conversely, those companies that trust their employees to work remotely see a range of benefits, according to the research. Eight in ten office workers say they feel more loyal to their employer as a result. More than half of office workers also claim that they work more productively as a result and are less stressed.
|The top five benefits of working remotely|
|1. Can balance work/home life more effectively||60%|
|2. Work more productively||52%|
|3. Less stressed||51%|
|4. Less tired with no commute||46%|
|5. More focused||27%|
According to Kevin Scott-Cowell, 8×8’s UK MD, 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.”