It seems almost inconceivable that in just a few short years the world of work would look so different. Pre-2020, we never thought to question the 5-day working week and the notion of hybrid working was a rare occurrence – one might take the odd day working from home if they had a sick child or needed to be in to supervise the builders.
Before the pandemic, around one in eight (12%) working adults reported working from home, according to the ONS Annual Population Survey. However, according to the latest Public Opinions and Social Trends Survey, these figures have changed dramatically.
The number of adults working from home in a seven day period reached 49% during the peak of the pandemic (3 to 13 April and 11 to 14 June 2020). Two years later, when lockdown restrictions were lifted, this number only dropped by 9% to 38%. The most recent figures show that around 40% report working from home (25 January to 5 February 2023).
But who are these home workers?
AGE AND SEX
Between September 2022 and January 2023, 44% of workers reported home or hybrid working and 56% reported only travelling to work in the last seven days. Around 28% of working adults reported hybrid working and 16% reported working from home only.
A higher rate of people travelling to work (46%) reported not being able to work at home compared with those who travelled to work but could work from home (10%).
Those aged between 16 and 24 make up the highest proportion of those travelling to work (79%), while workers aged 34 to 44 had the lowest rate (48%). Younger workers also had the highest rate of people who do not have the ability to work from home (65%), while those aged 25 to 34 years, 35 to 44 years, and 45 to 54 years reported higher rates of home or hybrid working compared with the group aged 16 to 24 years.
INCOME AND EDUCATION
Eight out of 10 workers who reported hybrid or home only working earn £50,000 or more, while 14% of workers who earn up to £10,000 annually reported home or hybrid working. Within the lowest band, 75% travelled to work and could not work from home.
Twenty-three percent of workers with a degree reported working from home only and 44% reported hybrid working. Only 5% of workers with no qualifications reported working from home only and 9% reported hybrid working.
Professional occupations, associate professional occupations and managers, directors and senior officials reported the highest percentage of home working only (27%, 22% and 21%, respectively) and hybrid working (44%, 39% and 43%, respectively).
Elementary occupations, caring, leisure and other service occupations and process, plant and machine operatives had the lowest levels of home only (1%, 4% and 5%, respectively) and hybrid working (3%, 10% and 5%, respectively).
Public sector workers reported higher levels of hybrid working (35%) than the private sector (26%). Thirty-two percent of self-employed workers reported home working only.
Workers who identify with the “Black or Black British” ethnic group reported the highest levels of travelling to work without the option to work from home (60%), compared with those in the “White British/Irish” ethnic group (46%).
COUNTRY AND REGION
In London, 4 in 10 workers reported hybrid working – the highest in England – while 30% of hybrid workers were found in the East of England.
Londoners were also least likely to travel to work without the option to work from home (31%). The next least likely was the Southeast region at 42%.
Those in Scotland were most likely to travel to work (59%), compared with 58% in Wales and 56% in England.
Commuters who use public transport, i.e., train, underground, metro, light rail or tram, were least likely to be hybrid workers; 64% travel by train and 65% travel by underground, metro, light rail, or tram.
Source: Management Today