By August 27, 2009

Connected Britain Offers £31.7 Billion Savings to UK Business


New map-3_JPG_autothumb_w-574_scaleUK business could save up to £31.7 billion* by helping workers fulfill their ideal work/life balance, according to a report by Orange into the impact of universal connectivity on the future of living and working in the UK. The report, based on YouGov research and insights from futurologist James Bellini, reveals that 16% of respondents would be willing to take an average of £6,900 salary cut and 42% would be happy to forfeit their company car if it meant they could live and work in their ideal location. In addition, many more would be willing to forfeit the seniority of their role (27%) or future job progression (25%) to make their ideal work/life balance scenario a reality.

The ‘Connected Britain’ report explores the workforce of tomorrow, and how the profound opportunities presented to both employees and employers through a digitally connected Britain will shape the way we live and work.

“This research reveals that far from being a financial barrier for business, flexible working actually presents a significant opportunity for businesses to save money and improve employee morale. Setting up an employee to work from home needn’t involve significant investment, just the willingness to give them to the tools they need to get the job done. Rather than waiting for the current economic climate to improve, savvy businesses will act now to reap the rewards offered by flexible working,” said Robert Ainger, Director of Corporate Marketing, Orange UK.

The survey of 3,281 UK office workers also reveals the potential impact that a more connected Britain might have on the geographical spread of the UK’s working population. Although 40% of office workers are happy in their current work location, according to the study, 39% would rather live and work by the seaside, the countryside or the mountains.

Overall, the responses show a desire to move away from the UK’s traditional industrial and economic hubs such as the North East and the Midlands to more rural, idyllic locations, such as Devon. The South West, currently the fifth most populous region in the UK, would be by far the most popular region in which to live, with London coming in at second place+. This would have far-reaching implications for both businesses and the UK’s service requirements or even transport networks.

The research also uncovered the factors that currently drive people to live where they do, with 49% of office workers having moved to their current location because of a job offer.

Just 4% of workers are in their current location because of its proximity to family and friends. However, given the opportunity of flexible working in a universally connected Britain, 26% of people would choose a specific location because of its proximity to family and friends, creating a more family-oriented Britain.

Regular, social, face to face connections with close friends and family are clearly valued highly as workers strive for an improved work/life balance. This is especially true when considering that 87% of workers would choose to work flexibly away from the office some or all of the time and 31% would be willing to spend up to an hour travelling to work if it meant they could live in a location of their choosing. Unfortunately, in many cases, the traditional constraints of the physical office and employment hubs are limiting workers’ ability to make these choices.

“Connectivity is the vital resource of our future economy and businesses that ignore its power risk commercial marginalisation. This rapidly emerging digital age will have a profound impact on working practices as people will be able to work wherever – and whenever – they choose. This will generate substantial economic returns as “e-workers” of the future will be more productive, better motivated and happier. In turn, the businesses they work for will be more adaptable, more responsive to changing market conditions and more profitable,” said James Bellini, Futurologist.


Notes to Editors

  • Total cost savings would be £32 billion based on ONS UK working population of 29m (of which 16% would be willing to take a paycut), combined with an estimated 1.3 million workers (of which 42% would be willing to forgo the paid company car) with company car with average running costs of £250 per month.

Once the cost of providing these employees with the technology needed to work flexibly is removed (as little as £55 per month for Orange internet, laptap and mobile phone) UK business stands to save £31.7 billion.

  • Population changes based on YouGov Research (compared with the latest ONS population statistics).

Research methodology

The survey was conducted using an online interview administered by members of the YouGov Plc GB panel of 185,000+ individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys. An email was sent to panellists selected at random from the base sample according to the sample definition, inviting them to take part in the survey and providing a link to the survey. YouGov Plc normally achieves a response rate of between 35% and 50% to surveys, however, this does vary dependent upon the subject matter, complexity and length of the questionnaire. The responding sample is weighted to the profile of the sample definition to provide a representative reporting sample. The profile is normally derived from census data or, if not available from the census, from industry accepted data.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3281 adults working in an office. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd June – 1st July 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Via Press Release

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