More British employees have opted for homeworking over a decade ago. However, employers should do more to encourage flexible working, according to new research from the TUC
There are many reasons staff members choose to become homeworkers. From dealing with long commutes to juggling raising a family, working from home can sound ideal to some. Hardly surprising then that more people in the UK are making the change to do just that, according to a new study from the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The study shows that 374,000 more employees are working from home than ten years ago, which is a 27.7% increase, corresponding to 6.1% of the total UK workforce. While the percentage of women homeworkers rose from 3.8% to 4.8% between 2008 and 2018, men are still more likely to be be enjoying flexible working, with the number of male homeworkers having jumped from 6.7% to 7.6%, over the same period. Age was also a factor, with older professionals being more likely to labour away from home than their juniors. In fact, 11% of workers aged 60 and over enjoy this way of working while only 1.6% of the people aged between 16 and 19 could say the same. Similarly, only 3.4% of people in their 20s worked from home while that number was 7.5% among workers in their 50s. The researchers also found that homeowners are 73% more likely to work at home than renters.
Interestingly, even though 11.9% of managers work from home, the TUC estimates that most bosses fail to provide employees with the option to do the same. Its estimation is that roughly four million UK workers would like to become homeworkers for at least a portion of their working week but don’t have the opportunity to do so.
Despite not many employers allowing their staff to do so, working from home can be advantageous. The TUC argued homeworking can be an important way for disabled workers to access the labour market, with 230,000 disabled people currently enjoying the option of working from home.
Commenting on the researchers, Frances O'Grady, general secretary at TUC, 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. But too many employers are clinging to tradition or don’t trust their staff enough to encourage homeworking. They need to catch up.”
With so many workers estimated to want to a change in their routine, employers will likely want to accommodate them sooner rather than later as flexible working can boost staff members‘ mental health and champion a culture of collaboration.