• As half term hits and travel restrictions ease, almost a third (27%) of those surveyed are planning to work remotely from Europe this year, says a new study of 2,000 office/home workers
  • Just over three-quarters (76%) of those planning to work remotely from Europe on holiday this year are considering a ‘hybrid holiday’ – adding remote working days around their annual leave to extend their time away – and 37%* say it will make them more productive
  • From escaping the usual 9-5 to relieving the stress of missing out on potential work, two entrepreneurs share why they’re working from Europe this half term
  • Figures published today by Virgin Media O2 Business, which has announced it will not be reintroducing roaming fees in the EU (up to 35GB)**– supporting customers with flexibility as they jet off to popular destinations, including the top choice for 45% of workers* – Spain – the new “Costa del office”.

London, 14th February 2022: With today marking the start of half term across the UK – and COVID-19 travel restrictions now eased in over 25 European countries – almost a third (27%) of Brits surveyed are planning to upgrade their desk view by working remotely from Europe this year.

As half term hits, new research from Virgin Media O2 Business reveals a growing trend for a ‘hybrid holiday’: with 76% of workers* polled considering adding remote working days around their annual leave as part of an existing trip, to make the most of time away and combine work and pleasure. The five most popular destinations were revealed as Spain (45%), France (41%), Italy (34%), Portugal (32%) and Germany (29%) – indicating that many workers are likely to be swapping their desk chairs for deck chairs in the coming months.

Nearly half (49%) of those polled stated that their surroundings had the biggest impact on productivity, so it’s hardly surprising that so many are inclined to take advantage of available flexible working options and log on from a sunny climate or exotic location.

37%* say working remotely from Europe will make them more productive – making the most of a new environment to get their work done. But it’s an improvement in downtime that tops the list of reasons for a hybrid holiday this half term, with over half (58%) of those intending to work remotely in Europe heading there for a better work/life balance, followed closely by 44% looking for a change of scene or more time away. Childcare is also a factor, with one in three (33%) planning a hybrid holiday to help split their annual leave with their partner to cover school holidays.

Meet the UK entrepreneurs working abroad this half-term:

Lyle Metcalfe (36), founder of London-based electric bicycle brand Volt, plans to split his time between the UK and France this winter season – using his phone to stay connected to customers, suppliers and on social media while he’s away. He says: “I’m excited and confident that technology allows me to work outside the usual constraints of a fixed location.

“Nowadays heading off to France for a couple of months is not an issue from a work perspective; and from my own personal point of view it gives me clarity and motivation to achieve more. From a creative and well-being viewpoint, it is important for me not to be boxed in with the usual 9-5 office routine. And to the outside world, (unless I tell them), everyone just assumes I’m sat in an office in the UK, when in fact I’ll most likely be on a ski-slope in the Alps. It’s a complete game changer really.”

Running his own business means holidays can be stressful for Jamie Heffron (36), a tiler working all around the South East. Having a traditional “out of office” doesn’t work, so having the option to check emails and take calls while he’s away means he can dedicate quality time to his family – without worrying that he’s going to miss out on new projects or updates on important jobs. He adds: “It sounds strange but keeping my phone on while I’m in Spain this half term will actually help me switch off and have a proper holiday with my family. If I miss an enquiry, I miss a job. Staying connected means I can relax – because I’m on O2 I can be on the beach and still pick up on emails and even access invoices or quotes without worrying about unexpected charges.”

The most popular apps for those working from abroad are Microsoft Teams, closely followed by WhatsApp, Office 365 and Zoom.

The survey also revealed that ‘deskies’ – snaps of remote desk set-ups abroad – might replace hot dog leg holiday snaps, with two thirds*(65%) likely to share images of working abroad on social media (and 41% of those planning to show off on LinkedIn).

Virgin Media O2 recently announced it will not be reintroducing roaming fees in the EU.

Jo Bertram Managing Director, Business and Wholesale at Virgin Media O2, says: “Our latest research suggests that 2022 is set to be the year that working from anywhere becomes a reality for businesses across the UK. Whether it’s a sole trader updating their social feeds from the beach or employees at Global corporates getting back to business trips, the right mobile tariff means they can stay connected, and roam like at home from Portugal across to Latvia, and from Iceland down to Greece.

“We’re so proud to have bucked the trend with our roaming announcement last month, reassuring our customers that we will not be reintroducing roaming charges. For us, it’s an important part of offering businesses of all sizes the choice to stay connected, with flexibility and peace of mind, however they choose to work.”

Last year, Virgin Media O2 Business revealed*** the UK’s top remote working locations outside of the home and office, with one in ten saying they log on from the pub, while working out, or even from the local supermarket – and one in 12 working from the school run.

— Ends —

* This was a percentage of those intending to work remotely in Europe

** Customers on O2 Unlimited Data tariffs will be charged if their usage exceeds 35GB in O2’s Europe Zone. For more details please see: Terms and Fair Usage Policy

Notes to editors

  • 2022 remote working survey: A survey of 2,000 UK adults who normally work in an office or at home was carried out online on behalf of Virgin Media O2 by OnePoll between the 4th – 10th February 2022.
  • 2021 remote working survey: A survey of 2,262 respondents who work remotely was carried out online on behalf of Virgin Media O2 by Censuswide between the 19th of October 2021 and the 22nd of October 2021. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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