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TUC: Homeworking has risen one-quarter in ten years

May 20
Tags: UK: London
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Homeworking has risen by more than a quarter in the last ten years, according to new research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC). 

The results revealed that there are 374,000 more employees working from home now than there were a decade ago - equating to an increase of 27.7%. 

However, the TUC has warned that not enough bosses are giving their employees the opportunity to take up homeworking, despite the work-life balance improvements offered by such schemes. 

The organisation estimated that approximately four million more workers in the UK would like the option of working from home for at least some of their working week, but are not given the opportunity to do so. 

The TUC research also found there are almost twice as many men who work from home on a regular basis as there are women. However, the portion of women working from home is increasing rapidly, with 35% more doing so than ten years ago. 

Furthermore, homeowners were a lot more likely to work at home than those who rent. Specifically, those who owned their home were found to be 73% more likely to work at home than renters. 

Unsurprisingly, given the above statistics, older people were also more likely to be homeworkers, with 7.4% of 40-59 year olds working in this way, compared to just 2.4% of 20-29 year olds. 

In terms of occupation, managers were shown to be the group that works at home the most, with 11.9% of those in this role reporting they do so. 

When the findings were divided up across the country, it was revealed that the South West has the highest proportion of home workers in the UK. One in 12 employees in this region were home-based. Meanwhile, home working is still not a popular option in Northern Ireland, where just one in 32 work from home. 

The results also revealed that 230,000 people with disabilities work from home. The TUC noted that homeworking is an important way in which many disabled people can access the labour market. 

The TUC is calling for more flexible working, with employees having the right to positive flexible working from day one, with employers required to advertise all jobs on this basis. 

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady described homeworking as a “win-win”. She underlined its multiple benefits, including workers getting more time with their families, productivity boosts, retention of experienced staff, and environmental benefits. 

However, she noted that too many employers are “clinging to tradition”, or don’t trust their staff enough to promote homeworking as an option. She suggested such businesses “need to catch up”.

Ms O’Grady added: “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 that while it is encouraging to see a significant increase in the number of employees working from home, there still needs to be a “cultural shift” towards wider acceptance. 

He said: “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.”

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