Cost-of-living crisis hampers UK remote work

Expected productivity gains from UK’s third workplace at risk as workers feel the chill from environments not permitting hybrid working

Research from Sky Connect, the B2B telecoms arm of UK connectivity company Sky, has found that despite the overwhelming desire of UK workers to work on a hybrid basis, the potential benefits of this model are at risk due to the rising cost of living.

According to the research, the majority (87%) of freelancers and remote workers are concerned about the impact working from home is having on their energy bills, while more than three-quarters (78%) said January’s arctic blast made working conditions uncomfortable. 

The research was conducted between 7 and 10 February 2023 by Censuswide, questioning 1,007 workers in the UK who are either freelance and do not have access to an office or employees who work remotely full time.

Sky Connect found that nearly half (48%) of respondents had felt forced to work from an alternative location, such as a local cafe, pub or library, at least once due to the cost-of-living crisis. Remote workers cited saving money on heating costs (57%) and energy bills (70%), avoiding commuter costs (27%) and not having to pay for expensive coworking spaces (27%) as the main reasons for choosing to work in these hospitality locations. 

With the rising cost of living continuing to put a strain on UK citizens’ finances, remote and freelance workers were said to be turning to small businesses for a warm and cost-effective place to work. However, as many as 72% of respondents said unreliable connectivity had been a big concern when choosing where to work from. In addition, 70% said they would be more likely to work from alternative locations more regularly – at least once a week – if they offered reliable guest Wi-Fi. 

The cost-of-living crisis is a huge concern for consumers and small businesses alike. But for those spending the most time at home, increasing energy bills are understandably putting a strain on personal finances,” said Stacey Hill, director of sales and operations at Sky Connect.

“Whilst it’s great to see these workers supporting their local small businesses during an increasingly challenging time for hospitality, it’ll be important that SMEs create a working environment that keeps these regular customers coming back. This means offering a reliable and secure guest Wi-Fi service that improves customers’ overall experience.”

To support its small businesses in providing a safe and secure working environment to customers, Sky Connect has today launched its new Sky Connect Hub which includes automatic 4G backup and other new capabilities such as advanced cyber security and guest Wi-Fi. The hub features Wi-Fi 6 technology that is able to power up to 100 devices. Made from 85% recycled plastic, it is Sky Connect’s greenest ever Wi-Fi hub.

With the guest Wi-Fi capability, Sky Connect customers can create a separate password-protected network for visitors to their business premises, with an advanced cyber security layer that automatically scans for threats every five minutes to protect any device connected to Wi-Fi against risks such as malware and phishing. 

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