Working from home up more than a quarter in decade

Young woman working from homeThere are 374,000 more employees working from home than 10 years ago, new TUC analysis published today to mark Work Wise UK’s National Work from Home Day implies. The analysis suggests a 27.7 percent increase in the number of homeworkers in the last decade. But not enough bosses are giving their workers the option of homeworking, which could help people to see more of their family and improve work-life balance.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Too many employers are clinging to tradition, or don’t trust their staff enough to encourage homeworking. They need to catch up.   [/perfectpullquote]

The TUC estimates that around 4 million more UK workers would like to work from home for at least some of their working week but aren’t given the chance.

The analysis suggests that:

  • Gender: There are almost twice as many men as women homeworkers. But women are catching up, with 36 percent more working from home than ten years ago.
  • Homeowners: People who own their home are 73 percent more likely to work at home than renters.
  • Age: Older workers are more likely to work at home, with 7.4 percent of 40-59 year olds homeworking but only 3.4 percent of 20-29 year olds.
  • Occupation: 11.9 percent of managers work at home – more than any other group
  • Region/nation: The South West has the highest proportion of home workers in the country, with 1 in 12 workers based in their home. Northern Ireland has the lowest with just 1 in 32 employees working from home.
  • Disabled workers: Homeworking can be an important way for disabled workers to access the labour market, and there are 230,000 disabled people who work from home.   

The TUC is calling for a right to positive flexible working from day one of your job, with employers required to advertise all jobs on that basis.


A win-win situation

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “In many cases, homeworking is a win-win-win. Workers get more time with their families, employers can boost productivity and hang on to experienced staff, and the environment benefits as well. Unions can help negotiate home working policies that work positively for both employers and staff. And government should be investing in broadband infrastructure so that every worker can get a high-speed connection at home.”

Chief Executive of Work Wise UK, the organiser of National Work from Home Day, Phil Flaxton said: “Whilst it is encouraging to see a significant increase in the number of employees working from home there still needs to be a cultural shift for it to be accepted more widely.

“Attitudes are changing on how we balance or mix work and lifestyle. Increasing mobility and technology is shifting the acceptance or need for traditional 9-5 work patterns, to be replaced by a more flexible approach to the working week and this trend will continue as more of us embrace new, smarter ways of working such as working from home.

“More employers need to realise the tangible benefits of changing outdated working practices to reflect the connected world in which we live. These include, increased productivity, staff retention, less absenteeism and employee burnout.

“The business case is sound, and it really can be a win-win for all concerned.”