• New research from Virgin Media O2 Business in partnership with Censuswide shows that Brits are using their mobiles to log on to work from car parks, gyms and playgrounds
  • 100 days since the government’s work from home mandate was lifted, the research shows hybrid, flexible working extends beyond just the home and office – as logging on via mobiles and business apps leads to the rise of working from ‘roam’
  • Cafes, the garden, as well as on a walk top the list of on-the-go-places to work with over half of Brits citing Microsoft Teams as their number one must-have to help them log on from anywhere.

London, 27 October 2021: Today marks 100 days since lockdown rules came to an end in England (19 July) and the working from home mandate was lifted. As hybrid working takes hold, new data from Virgin Media O2 Business shows the rise of the ‘work from roam’ trend, with Brits logging on to work remotely from number of unexpected locations – including car parks, walking the dog and gyms – and nearly one in ten (8%) of Brits reported logging on from the bathroom.

With millions embracing hybrid working between the home and the office, Virgin Media O2 (in partnership with Censuswide) reveals the top 15 alternate locations Brits are logging on to work remotely. Topping the list was friends and family homes (27%), followed by gardens (24%). Meanwhile, nearly one in ten of us will log on from the pub – and unsurprisingly the school run makes it on the list (8%).

The top 15 “working from roam” spots

1 Friends / family house 27%
2 Garden 24%
3 Café 19%
4 On a walk 15%
5 Car journey 14%
6 Train journey 12%
7 Car park 11%
8 Restaurant 11%
9 Doing exercise (at home) 11%
10 Park 11%
11 Shops (high street) 10%
12 Local Supermarket 10%
13 Pub 9%
14 In the bathroom 8%
15 On the school run 8%


The results suggest an increasingly flexible working model has created a trend in using tech to create a portable office – moving from working from home to working from ‘roam,’ with on average almost one in four (23%) logging on via their phones on the go.

An example of this is PR Director, Geoff Robjent, 32, who splits his time between London and Bristol. Having lived in London for nine years, he moved to Bristol in 2020 thanks to flexible working trends spawned by the pandemic.

He said: “Thanks to a great mobile connection and the opportunity to work flexibly I’ve had an incredible work life balance over the past few months. Every Monday and Wednesday, I pick my daughter Aria up from school, while waiting for her I often use my phone to check emails and review documents sitting in my car in the school car park. I no longer have ‘dead time’ whilst commuting and can log off earlier to spend more time with family in the evenings.”

According to the research, virtual meeting apps like Microsoft Teams/Zoom and software apps like Office 365, which allow workers to access documents from anywhere are the tech must-haves for people embracing the ‘work from roam’ trend.

Over a third (35%) of those surveyed reported flexible working improved their mental health, whilst others cited additional time to eat and prepare meals (33%) and the chance to complete housework (31%) and exercise (28%) as significant benefits compared to pre-pandemic life.

Jo Bertram, Managing Director, Business and Wholesale at Virgin Media O2, said: “We know that where they can do so safely and securely, office workers are adopting a true hybrid approach to work – and it’s encouraging to hear tech and mobile connectivity are helping them embrace flexibility, stay productive and create their own work-life balance.

“This shows that now’s not the time to slow down the tech progress we’ve made in the last 18 months. Employers must continue to invest in the tech to help people work from anywhere, as people shift from working from home, to a hybrid approach across home, the office and ‘working from roam’. People need mobile tariffs that meet their needs, devices that are pre-configured and ready to go, secure handsets, data and networks and tech that connects them wherever and however they work best.”

Recent research from Virgin Media O2 Business and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) revealed nearly half of the UK’s 8.6 million part-time employees would increase their working time if their employer would let them work remotely, leading to 1.27 billion more hours worked and a potential boost to GDP by £48bn annually. The Cebr study also revealed employees now expect to work remotely for 2.5 days per week, with company leaders in broad agreement: expecting their employees to work remotely for 2.3 days a week.

— Ends —

Notes to editors

  • 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+).
  • The Virgin Media O2 Business and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) report was informed by primary research, which was designed by Cebr in collaboration with VMB and undertook by Opinium. A survey of 502 organisation decision-makers was conducted between the 1st of July 2021 and the 10th of July 2021. A separate survey of 2,000 consumers weighted to be nationally representative was conducted between the 13th of July 2021 and the 17th of July 2021.
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