End of ‘9 to 5’ could cost businesses £2bn in failed deliveries

The end of standard nine to five office hours could create a surge in failed deliveries, resulting in “dramatically” increased delivery costs worth £2 billion.

According to delivery company ParcelHero, the changed office environment post-Covid could also see new surcharges.

The company said that while working from home reduces a proportion of business overheads, it is also likely to result in higher delivery costs for retailers and customers.

Research from the parcel delivery service found that only 20 per cent of professionals want to work full-time from their offices post-Covid, while a quarter say they will resign if forced to do so.

David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, predicts that courier prices and surges are likely to increase because of the shift to remote working, as the high failure rates of home deliveries make them far more expensive than deliveries to offices.

“Only one in five workers want to return to the office full-time and influential employers such as Unilever have already announced their staff will never return to their desks five days a week,” said Jinks. “Of course, many employees welcome this long-term commitment to flexible working, but these new business practices are likely to raise courier delivery prices in the future. That is because failed deliveries to business addresses are rare while, even before the pandemic, at least 5.6 per cent of UK first-time deliveries to private homes failed.”

He said that there are two key reasons why most couriers prefer B2B deliveries.

“Firstly, business deliveries are likely to be concentrated around High Streets and industrial estates, thereby reducing delivery times and fuel costs,” he added. “Residential deliveries, on the other hand, tend to be far more spread out. Drivers may have to cover many miles to make just one or two deliveries.”

The second reason he identified was that people are certain to be at work premises to take delivery during office hours. Jinks said that even before the pandemic, over one in 20 deliveries to private addresses could not be delivered first time, either because the receiver wasn’t in or didn’t head the door.

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