Home working is up 800,000 in a decade, but more can be done says TUC

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On the first day back in the office since last Friday’s National Work for Home Day, figures reveal more than four million people now regularly work from home.

Analysis of the ONS Labour Force Survey by the Trades Union Congress shows 4,218,699 people regularly work from home – which is an increase of more than 800,000 since 2005.

Even when the overall growth in employment is accounted for, there has still be a rise – with the percentage of home workers now comprising 13.7% of the working population, compared to 12% in 2005.

Predictably, the South East has the largest number of home workers, although the South West has the greatest percentage, at 18.3%.

Surprisingly, working from home is a disproportionately a male activity, with 62.8% of those who regularly working at home being men. However, ability to work from home is still most closely linked to seniority, with one in five managers saying they now work from home, compared to just 6.7% at entry-level roles.

While welcoming the figures, TUC general secretary Francis O’Grady pointed to areas where working from home is still not common, particularly in the public sector (at just 8%), in health (7.1%) and in retail (7%).

She said: “While organisations embracing home working say it improves retention and productivity, there are still too many employers who are afraid to let their staff try out this way of working.' She added: 'The TUC estimates there could be as many as another 1.8 million people who would enjoy the benefits of working from home.”

Work Wise UK chief executive, Phil Flaxton, said: “While there has been a significant increase in regular home working since 2005, clearly more needs to be done to convince some employers that implementing new working practices can result in a win-win situation for both their business and their employees.”