The work from home pandemic

The coronavirus lockdown has meant more UK employees than ever before are working from home – here are latest figures on remote working from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

How has coronavirus impacted remote working?

Almost half of all UK employees (47%) worked from home in April 2020, the vast majority of which (86%) did so directly so as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Of those who worked remotely, just over a third (34%) worked fewer hours than they normally would – though that doesn’t necessarily mean that productivity fell – while just under a third (30%) worked longer hours. Similarly, working longer hours is no indication that these people were any more productive.

Younger people – those aged between 16 and 24 – were less likely to work from home than employees in the older age groups, possibly because the stage that their career is at or the type of job they’re doing means they can’t work from home. It could also be an indication that younger employees were furloughed  or even lost their jobs completely during lockdown.

This  idea is supported by the fact that occupations requiring higher qualifications and more experience were more likely to provide homeworking opportunities than elementary and manual occupations.

Which areas of the UK did the most remote working?

London residents were more likely to work from home than those in any other part of the country – more than half of people living in London (57%) worked at home during April 2020.

This was closely followed by north west, north east and south east England, where 49% of employees worked from home.

The reason cited for home working throws up some interesting revelations – 92% of remote workers based in London cited the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as their main reason for doing so, but this reason dropped to 77% in the north east and 79% in the south west (79.1%), where respondents were least likely to cite the coronavirus pandemic as the main reason for homeworking.

Which occupations were more likely to work from home?

Unsurprisingly, professional occupations were the most likely to work from home (70%), while process and plant machine operatives were the least likely (5%).

Employees working in associate professional and technical occupations were most likely to cite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the main reason for homeworking (91%), while those in skilled trades occupations were least likely to do so (65.%).