Cost-of-living crisis hinders UK remote working
The growing desire for people to work remotely or on a hybrid basis following the Covid-19 pandemic could be under threat by the rising cost of living in the UK, according to research from Sky Connect.
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 big freeze made working conditions uncomfortable, the survey found according to reporting by Computer Weekly.
The research was conducted by Censuswide over three days between 7 and 10 February 2023 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.
According to Sky Connect – the B2B telecoms arm of UK broadcaster Sky – nearly half (48%) of respondents felt pressured to work from an alternative location, such as a local cafe, pub or library, at least once due to the cost-of-living crisis, while remote workers named saving money on heating costs (57%) and energy bills (70%), avoiding commuter costs (27%) and not having to pay for expensive coworking spaces (27%) the main reasons for choosing to work in these hospitality locations.
“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.
A study from ABI research suggested that 5G fixed wireless access services are expected to represent 4% of residential broadband services in 2026, growing from less than 1% in 2020, but with the rising cost of living continuing to leave UK citizens with empty pockets, remote and freelance workers were said to be turning to small businesses for a warm and cost-effective place to work.
“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,” Hill continued.
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 as Hill stated.
Yet the hunger to work from home remains. According to enterprise tech giant HP, the flexibility it offers particularly favours women’s progression in the workplace.
To support its small businesses in providing a safe and secure working environment to customers, Sky Connect has 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.
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