50% of UK workforce to work remotely by 2020
Update: In April 2020, statistics released by the UK's Office for National Statistics showed 49.2% of adults in employment were working from home, as a result of the social distancing measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. So the prediction of 50% working remotely in 2020 was almost fulfilled. For more recent information on what's happened since, see our Working from Home Stats page.
Between 2012 and 2016, flexi-time has risen by 12.35 per cent; and data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of UK workers who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over a decade.
Thanks to changing attitudes and ever-improving network capabilities this number is expected to continue its upward trajectory over the next 3 years, with half the UK workforce expected to be working remotely by 2020.
Statistics from the ONS showed that, in 2015, 4.2 million people across a range of sectors worked from home, and businesses both small and large are increasingly adopted the remote working strategy into their model. The benefits are palpable for employers and employees alike. For example:
- Office costs reduced
- Increased staff retention
- Environmental benefits
- Higher morale
- Wider talent pool
Although some business owners are still concerned that, unwatched, their employees productivity will suffer, the opposite is in fact true. Productivity and morale increases exponentially, according to data from a new OddsMonkey report. Other studies support this fact, and suggest that happiness, motivation and sense of freedom are generally stronger among remote workers.
For many of these workers, increased connectivity in personal and work lives have made the transition into remote-work a relatively easy one. Faster and more readily available Wi-Fi and broadband, as well as easy-access cloud systems and team collaboration tools such as Slack mean 'the office' can be just about anywhere you take your laptop. And more and more people are catching on to the fact.
Economic uncertainty following the Brexit vote and a fluctuating pound has done little to deter those who have gone (or who are planning to go) remote. In fact, the strength of the remote-working economy has helped to bolster the UK through a tumultuous and unstable period.
It's clear that the working economy is in a period of flux as more people migrate to modes of working that offer them a better work-life balance and a schedule that fits around their own schedule. To prepare for this shift, businesses can start by seeing that they have the right connectivity capabilities in place to support a remote-working model.