Office life set for permanent change amid rise in people working from home

Around 37% of workers spent at least some time doing their jobs from home last year.

A home office
A home office

The proportion of people working from home at some point increased by 10% in 2020, new figures show.

Last year around 37% of workers spent some time in their own homes during office hours, compared with 27% in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Although employees are now beginning to return to offices – the number working solely from home has dropped from 37% to 26% since mid-February – the data suggests that some of the change might be permanent.

On average, nearly one in four businesses that have not stopped trading said they plan to increase their use of home-working. In the information and communication industry the figure is 49%.

Meanwhile, 85% of adults who are currently working from home said they want to take a hybrid approach to work.

People living in London were most likely to report having worked from home in the last week; it was also most common among the 30 to 49 year age group, where 45% of people work from home.

The figures also show that 34% of 16 to 29 year olds worked from home in the last seven days, and 32% of 50 to 69 year olds had worked from home.

Millions of people across the UK have been forced to stay at home during the pandemic in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Around 11.5 million of those people were put on to Government-sponsored furlough because they were unable to work from home.

However millions of office workers, and some others, were able to take laptops home and continue their jobs in a new setting.

On Monday, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said that around one in 10 staff have been put under pressure to return to work, despite Government guidance encouraging people to work from home where possible.

That number rises to one in six for disabled workers, the TUC said.

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