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Almost half of Brits put off working from home by poor telecoms services

Research has long fleshed out UK employees' dreams of working from home. But poor telecoms services has ensured almost half of the Brits given such permission, won't be doing it again.
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Flexible working offers are increasingly being taken advantage of, with 43 per cent of staff having worked at home at least once in the last 12 months. This figure rises to 55 per cent for 18-34 year olds. But poor telecoms services are sending people back into the office.

This is according to uSwitch research, which pointed out the classic “knew such troubles existed, but didn’t think they applied to me” scenario. That telecoms services remain a problem though proves worrying given its impact on business and staff wellbeing.

In fact, the issues proved so severe that 5.9m employees said they wouldn’t work from home again. Broadband speeds were too slow to get any real work done, 32 per cent exclaimed. Mobile users (32 per cent as well) pointed out patchy networks.

uSwitch also maintained 25 per cent of Brits have had to work late as a result. And those with no choice – having no office per say, freelancing or stuck at home due to a problematic commute – spent around £308m in 2016. This was for “alternative measures” like going to a café, buying a signal booster or even switching providers.

“We’ve found that employees who can influence their work environment have better job satisfaction and improved wellbeing,” Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said of the results. “For employers, a physical presence is no longer a prerequisite.

“The idea of rolling out of bed and firing off emails to clients may sound pretty idyllic to a number of Brits, but many have had to forego home working altogether for fear that they could become stranded without internet access.

“Being cut off during a crucial client call or while trying to meet a deadline strikes fear into the hearts of a good number of employees, and not without good reason, with some having lost business due to issues with their broadband and mobile service.”

Here are some of the issues employees have faced due to poor telecoms services:

Working from home issues experienced

 impacted

I was unable to send a large file to a colleague or client

30 per cent

I had to work late to make up the lost time

25 per cent

I lost an opportunity or some business

20 per cent

I was stopped from working from home

20 per cent

I missed a deadline

16  per cent

I lost a client

13 per cent

I was on a conference call or Skype to a colleague or client and it cut out

nine per cent

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business