More than half (60 per cent) of employees will work from home within the next decade according to 5,000 company bosses who took part in an annual Virgin Media Business study. Face-to-face meetings with customers and prospects will also change with 72 per cent believing getting together in person will soon be a thing of the past.
Could this be the shape of things to come? According to the report, businesses are already putting in place plans to support these changes. Access to super-fast connectivity as standard is now the top investment priority for UK businesses (31 per cent) as they prepare for staff to work away from the office in the years to come.
Tony Grace, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Media Business, said: “There’s a change coming to the way we work. Remote working isn’t anything new, but with technology providing the right tools for the job, the acceptance that it will soon be the norm is.
“Businesses are already getting fit for purpose by investing in cloud-based software, virtual private networks or investing in new tools such as Unified Communications to ensure that remote teams remain connected and engaged. The growth in video and social media across corporate networks is also supporting this migration away from the traditional office confines; the importance to underlying network infrastructure once more comes under the spotlight.”
These results will be music to the ears of commuters as the majority of employees (62 per cent) expect to be commuting less thanks to more flexible working practices.
The capital’s public transport network currently caters for 25 million journeys every single day. If the predictions of the UK’s business leaders come true, that number could tumble to a more manageable 10 million journeys. With the average desk in London costing £285 to rent per person per month, companies could be saving thousands of pounds on costs.
“This raises questions about the way businesses currently use office space. We see the office of the future being a lot smaller, desks set-up for hot-desking and a workforce that can easily interchange from working in the office to working from home or at a satellite office. Underpinning all of this will be a reliable network helping companies to manage their staff and resources.”
“There will always be a case for having a main office, but if you can make your staff happy by allowing them to work remotely, reduce their commuting time and give staff the freedom to work in a way that suits them, then why wouldn’t you take it.”
Note to editors:
The research was carried out by LM Research and surveyed 5,000 directors / business owners from companies with 100+ employees between 12 December 2011 and 16 December 2011.