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Where’s the business value in being more flexible?

Kate Mulligan-Brown, Director of SMB Marketing at O2 looks at the stats that show why British businesses deserve more flexibility and how O2’s business customers can look forward to a much more flexible future.

The UK is a great place to start and grow a business. The resilience of British business owners is one of the reasons I jumped at the chance to take on my current role at O2.

Running or building any kind of business is tough. Whether it’s managing your finances, hiring new team members, or dealing with Brexit-related admin. In some cases, it can be all of these things at once and sometimes while being a parent too. As a mother of two little people (2 and 6 year olds), I empathise with anyone running a business and home-schooling. And wearing many hats seems to be just as common for the owner of a business with 300 employees as it is for the owner of a small local retail business.

But whatever the size of your operation, we get that business is especially tough right now. As our CEO, Mark Evans, wrote in a recent post, even big businesses are faced with additional challenges. But it’s been a really tough year for smaller businesses too, and that’s why we believe our focus on offering customers flexibility is more important than ever.

Figures that show the value of flexibility

In late 2020, we commissioned a report from Cebr on the effect of change and unpredictability on small businesses in the UK. It’ll come as no surprise to learn that unnecessary fixed or inflexible business costs can undermine their performance.

The survey findings highlight how on average inappropriate fixed-term contracts account for 16.2% of monthly business costs. Along with IT equipment, phone services make up a high proportion of those costs, and not all phone contracts can flex from month to month.

To put it into context, on average 35.4% agreed that their phone costs remained the same even when headcount falls. That’s a huge extra overhead at a time when the business is obviously going through hard times. So imagine the savings if you could adjust existing phone contracts to suit your changing circumstances?

And flexibility isn’t just valuable when times are tough. I’m from New Zealand originally but I’ve always been interested in opportunities that broaden my horizons and allow me to grow. Despite recent challenges, I know that many businesses have aspirations to expand their horizons and grow too. To do this, businesses need the ability to quickly scale up what they do. That is often dependent on the flexibility of services they use – like how easy it is to add extra minutes, data or apps to current phone contracts.

Committing to a more flexible future

Last year, we introduced new tariffs to give small and medium-sized businesses more choice and more control1.  Whether it’s control over calls and data, or a choice on a range of contract lengths, from 30 days to 36 months. And we continue to provide an option to add on, and remove, business apps like Microsoft 365. We also know how important it is to get the most out of what you pay for, so our contracts also come with automatic Data Rollover2 each month, so any unused data doesn’t go to waste.

This is all part of our commitment to customers to make flexibility a priority across everything we do. Sometimes it’s about our tariffs and services, or specific advice and support. Sometimes it’s just being on the end of the phone to talk through what’s happening right now and what we can do to help. And I’m particularly proud that there’s plenty of support for our customers here at O2 from our Account Managers and tech expert Gurus.

I completely understand how important it is to be flexible, now more than ever. By giving you more choice and more control we hope to make a little difference to our customers. Because we believe that being flexible is one of the best ways we can help your business to thrive.

Find out more about how we can help you to keep your business flexible.



  1. For new or upgrading customers only. For Small Biz and Business Essentials tariffs, tariff can be changed to a non-promotional tariff of the same type that has either a lower, higher or the same amount of data as tariff selected at commencement. For Business, Small Biz SIM Only, Small Biz Data Only and Mobile Broadband SIM Only tariffs, tariff can be changed to a non-promotional tariff of the same type with either the same or a higher amount of data as tariff selected at commencement. A change in tariff can be made 30 days from the date of connection or upgrade, each billing month.
  2. Data Rollover: For new or upgrading customers only. Available on selected tariffs of 6GB of data or above, excluding 2GB triple data, 3GB double data and unlimited data tariffs. Up to 100% of unused data from standard monthly data allowance can be rolled over into the following month. Eligible data rolls over for one month only. Any data that cannot be rolled over will expire. Any unused data will not rollover if you decide to change to an alternative tariff. Directly purchasing private section customers with 500 or more employees and directly purchasing public sector organisations are not eligible.

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