UK homeworking numbers more than double to 9.9 million

The number of people working from home in the UK has more than doubled since 2019. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), homeworking increased by 108.8 per cent between October to December 2019 and January to March 2022, from 4.7 million people to 9.9 million people now working from home.

Paul Clark, senior vice-president for EMEA at premium audio and video products provider Poly, said to Computer Weekly: “While homeworkers are increasing, organisations must not forget that a large number are returning to the office. For instance, the younger generation who enjoy the social aspect and the more traditional workers that prefer the office setup."

“If organisations want to make hybrid ‘work’, they need to have a fresh look at the office – 77 per cent of organisations are redesigning their offices to add more open plan areas, collaboration spaces and areas to socialise. Nearly a third (30 per cent) are planning to reduce the number of desks.

“Ultimately, employers must meet the needs of all their employees and provide a flexible work environment where people have the tools and spaces they need to stay productive. This will give organisations the best chance of success in a competitive market. The ones that don’t will see their talent walking out the door and risk being put out of business.”

The ONS survey also found that there was a difference across the UK and that some regions had a higher increase of homeworking than others. For example, there was a 203.5 per cent increase in Scotland but only a 56.4 per cent increase in Northern Ireland.

The regions with the highest percentage of homeworkers in January to March 2022 were London (37.0 per cent, 1.9 million), the South East (36.9 per cent, 1.6 million) and the East of England (31.1 per cent, 903,000). The regions with the lowest percentage of homeworkers were Northern Ireland (16.4 per cent, 137,000), the North East (22.4 per cent, 262,000), and Yorkshire and the Humber (26.2 per cent, 668,000).

The study also found that the number of people who commuted to a different region for work than the one they live in fell across the UK by 26.1 per cent (down 629,000) from October to December 2019 and January to March 2022.

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