• An unprecedented surge in both staycations and remote working is set to create a new cohort of ‘Nomadic Workers’ this summer, research[1]
  • One in five (19%) Brits are set to take a ‘nomadic working’ trip in the UK – booking rural accommodation where they can work remotely.
  • To support this trend, Virgin Media O2 has provided a 4G upgrade to over 31,300 postcodes since the start of the year in a drive to boost connectivity around the country.
  • Ahead of the Staycation summer, almost 600 cell sites have also been upgraded across coastal & tourist hotspots, with many locations having outdoor 5G network connectivity installed, such as Edinburgh Castle, the V&A Museum and Bournemouth Pier.
  • Virgin Media O2 is working with a number of businesses and SMBs to support them emerge from lockdown, as well as the Rural Business Group.

[8th July 2021]: Today, Virgin Media O2 has revealed new research finding that 1 in 5 (19%) workers are considering a ‘nomadic working’ trip this summer, making the most of remote working by setting up their office from holiday accommodation or with friends and family. Londoners are especially keen on the idea of nomadic working, with close to 2 in 5 (38%) of those living in the capital saying they’re likely to trade in their home office or workplace for an alternative location in the UK this summer.

Virgin Media O2 Business has identified ‘The Nomads’ as an emerging group of employees coming out of lockdown. Three quarters (74%) of workers want the ability to work from a mixture of places, be that the home, the office or elsewhere. Nomadic workers would like the flexibility to work from multiple private locations (33%) and whilst travelling abroad (31%) – as they are more productive when getting regular exercise and when able to travel whilst working.

To support an increase in people working flexibly, the network voted UK’s best for mobile reliability and coverage[2] has delivered a 4G boost in 31,300 postcodes in 2021 so far – and upgraded almost 600 cell sites at the nation’s favourite tourist destinations and seaside areas since last summer, such as Bognor Regis, Bath, Falmouth, Plymouth, Cambridge and Stirling.

Virgin Media O2 has also continued to roll out its 5G network, focusing on strengthening its 5G coverage in towns and cities while introducing the next generation network to tourist hotspots such as: Edinburgh Castle, Bournemouth Pier, Tynemouth King Edwards Bay and Llandudno West Shore. Also benefitting from new outdoor 5G connectivity are a range of museums and galleries, including the V&A Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, the Mary Rose Museum, York Castle Museum and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Following Ofcom’s 5G Spectrum Auction in spring, Virgin Media O2 now has more low band spectrum than anyone else, providing the opportunity to potentially have the largest 5G coverage footprint in the UK, supporting more people, businesses and devices.

A reliable network is also crucial for businesses of all sizes, with connectivity key to ensuring organisations are ready to bounce back from lockdown restrictions and meet the demand of eager customers. Virgin Media O2 Business offers flexible mobile plans and digital workplace tools that will allow businesses to capitalise on the staycation boom, from managing transactions and bookings to posting content to social media and maximising their data at peak periods when needed.

Jo Bertram, Managing Director, Business at Virgin Media O2, said: “It’s never been so important for businesses to stay connected, especially as we emerge from lockdown restrictions. Whether you’re a ‘mobilepreneur’ selling online at the seaside or an office worker joining meetings from your holiday let, Virgin Media O2 will keep you connected, wherever you choose to work this summer. As we look to upgrade the UK, we have an opportunity to evolve: not just doing things the way we’ve always done them, but through new innovations and technology to boost productivity and efficiency, right across the UK.”

Supporting SMBs and Rural Businesses  

For those working in the furthest reaches of the UK, Virgin Media O2 has committed to providing connectivity in hard to reach areas by leading the charge of the Shared Rural Network (SRN). To underscore the importance of the SRN, analysis by Development Economics with Virgin Media O2 revealed that the first phase of the rollout could boost rural business turnover by £187.7 million, with the lion’s share of revenue gains going to businesses in rural Scotland and the struggling hospitality sector.[3]

Virgin Media O2 also recently announced that it is supporting SMBs to bounce back from Covid-19 with a completely free broadband speed boost. The operator has significantly increased upload speeds for Voom Fibre customers to help them share files, access cloud applications and make video calls with ease.

Jemma Clifford, Director at the Rural Business Group said: “Our membership relies on network operators like Virgin Media O2 to provide strong and reliable connectivity that keeps them connected to customers, colleagues and suppliers. For businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector, we know that providing customers with good connectivity can be crucial to success.” 

“I’ve no doubt that initiatives like the Shared Rural Network and Virgin Media O2’s work to strengthen its 4G and 5G network across the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic has helped keep rural businesses afloat and has given the rural economy a much-needed boost.”

Maria Fernandez, Director of Small & Medium Business at Virgin Media O2, has shared her connectivity tips for SMBs in hospitality and tourism to make sure they’re ready to bounce back this summer: 

1.     Control your connectivity costs: When you’re in an industry that changes season to season like tourism, you need flexibility with your connectivity. Busier times mean taking on more staff and more guests on the wifi, quieter times mean the opposite.

2.     Give your people a choice of devices: Taking phone bookings needs a phone. Taking guest orders room-to-room may be easiest on a tablet. Monitoring stock levels may be easiest on a laptop. With a range of devices from sim only to mobiles, tables and laptops, you’ll be able help everyone work in the best way for them.

3.     Build your business’ virtual workplace: There are many apps that can help your people do their jobs productively wherever they are – even on the go. Our range of apps and mobile Bolt Ons can be added and removed easily, and you can take them up on 30-day rolling contracts for added flexibility.

4.     Provide your people with a reliable connection: Your people should be able to get online whenever they need to, whether they’re in your BnB’s garden shed or on the other side of town.

5.     Get productivity tips and updates any time: Just like in hospitality, things are always moving in the world of connectivity. With Virgin Media O2, you’ll have a dedicated Account Manager who’ll help you stay up to speed and give the advice you need to adapt as your business changes. 

For more information on Virgin Media O2 Business visit: https://www.o2.co.uk/business/why-o2/flex-your-business



[1] Polling by YouGov in April 2021 to over 2000 participants

[2] O2 won Best Network Coverage in the uSwitch Broadband & Mobile Awards 4 years in a row from 2018 to 2021. Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) also awarded O2 the Best Network for Reliability for three years running: 2019, 2020 and now in 2021.

[3] https://news.o2.co.uk/press-release/first-phase-of-the-shared-rural-network-to-bring-187-million-boost-to-rural-businesses/

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