New world of work sees emergence of hybrid holiday

Research from Virgin Media O2 suggests 2022 will be the year when working from anywhere becomes a reality for businesses across the UK

With Covid-19 travel restrictions now eased in over 25 European countries, a survey has shown that 27% of UK workers are planning to upgrade their desk view by working remotely from Europe this year, in what is becoming known as the “hybrid holiday”.

In the Virgin Media O2 2022 remote working survey, research firm OnePoll canvassed 2,000 UK adults who normally work in an office or at home, between 4 and 10 February 2022. Last year, the company surveyed 2,262 respondents who worked remotely, between 19 and 22 October 2021.

The growing trend for a so-called hybrid holiday emerged, with 76% of workers polled considering adding remote working days around their annual leave as part of an existing trip. The five most popular destinations were revealed as Spain (45%), France (41%), Italy (34%), Portugal (32%) and Germany (29%).

Nearly half (49%) of those polled said their surroundings had the biggest impact on productivity, a finding that was hardly surprising, said Virgin Media O2, given that so many are inclined to take advantage of available flexible working options.

Just over one-third (37%) said working remotely from Europe would make them more productive, making the most of a new environment to get their work done. However, an improvement in downtime topped the list of reasons for a hybrid holiday, with over half (58%) of those intending to work remotely in Europe heading there for a better work/life balance, followed closely by 44% looking for a change of scene or more time away.

Childcare was also a factor, with one in three (33%) planning a hybrid holiday to help split their annual leave with their partner to cover school holidays.

The most popular apps for people working from abroad were Microsoft Teams, closely followed by WhatsApp, Microsoft Office 365 and Zoom.

“Our latest research suggests that 2022 is set to be the year when working from anywhere becomes a reality for businesses across the UK,” said Jo Bertram, managing director, business and wholesale at Virgin Media O2. “Whether it’s a sole trader updating their social feeds from the beach or employees at global corporates getting back to business trips, the right mobile tariff means they can stay connected, and roam like at home from Portugal across to Latvia, and from Iceland down to Greece.”

Revealing specific examples of this trend, Virgin cited Lyle Metcalfe, 36, founder of London-based electric bicycle brand Volt (pictured above), who said he split his time between the UK and France this winter season using his phone to stay connected to customers, suppliers and on social media.

“I’m excited and confident that technology allows me to work outside the usual constraints of a fixed location,” he said. “Nowadays, heading off to France for a couple of months is not an issue from a work perspective; and from my own personal point of view, it gives me clarity and motivation to achieve more.

“From a creative and wellbeing viewpoint, it is important for me not to be boxed in with the usual nine-to-five office routine. And to the outside world, unless I tell them, everyone just assumes I’m sat in an office in the UK, when in fact I’ll most likely be on a ski slope in the Alps. It’s a complete game-changer, really.”

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