Home office (2)

Two in five (41%) businesses are still not encouraging their staff to work from home, despite widespread expectations that organisations will have no option in the near future.

Research from 8x8 found that more than a third of businesses in the UK have already been impacted by the outbreak of Coronavirus, with 36% having cancelled travel plans or events. More than half (58%) are offering remote working initiatives, by 17% are yet to supply their employees with the necessary technology to do so.

A further 41% have no remote working policy in place, and 26% of workers say their business does not encourage working from home, while 15% do not offer remote working at all.

8x8 said the study shows that businesses are at high risk of lost revenue and productivity as they have no remote working policies in place.

Over half (57%) of respondents reported that their business had previously been impacted by a major crisis, and as a result, three quarters (75%) of these have created a contingency plan, which includes remote working. This still leaves a quarter (25%) with no crisis policy in place. Businesses without a plan to enable remote working are now at a higher risk of reduced productivity, while they quickly fast-track a contingency plan for if, or more likely when, remote working is enforced.

Samuel Wilson, chief customer officer at 8x8, said: "To expect your entire workforce to shift working practices overnight is a tall order, yet with the UK government now encouraging a widespread rollout of working from home, this is something that businesses across the country are now having to deal with - and quickly.

"While our latest research suggests small businesses are more prepared than larger organisations, businesses of all sizes should have a plan in place that can be scaled up and down according to their needs.

"Once the technology has been tested and deployed, you need to make sure your employees are trained to use the platforms that enable remote working when required. For many people, this might be the first time they've had to work from home for any length of time. Pulling together some useful tips can help your workforce stay productive as well as ensure they are at their best when working remotely."