The Remote Working Report

4 years ago

The Remote Working Report

Working from home is something which been steadily on the rise in the last few years, but the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has seen many forced to work from home for the first time ever, with the government ordering people to only go out to work if they cannot do so from home.

For some industries, this will prove to be a huge challenge, but for others, it has increasingly become the norm in recent years, and being able to do so could even prevent some companies from going under.

So, as a nation, how used are we to working from home? And which industries and groups work from home the most? We’ve analysed figures from the Annual Population Survey (APS) to find out.

How Many People
Currently Work from Home?

The data shows that around 1.7 million people in the UK mainly work from
home, which may seem like quite a large figure, although it only accounts for
about 5% of the country’s 32.6 million workforce, although 8.7 million said
that they have worked from home at some point.

These figures have definitely been on the rise in the last five years or so though, as working from home becomes easier and more accepted.

In 2015, 4.3% of people mainly worked from home, which has steadily
grown to 5.1% in 2019, however it will be interesting to see whether the
coronavirus pandemic brings about a long-term change in attitudes toward home
working in the coming years.

Which Industries Work from Home the Most?

IndustryMainly Work from HomeHave Ever Worked from Home
Information and communication14.8%53.1%
Prof, scientific, technical activ.12.8%46.3%
Real estate activities12.3%40.3%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 8.6%39.0%
Financial and insurance activities5.2%38.9%
Arts, entertainment and recreation9.9%33.3%
Other service activities7.8%30.3%
Electricity, gas, air cond supply4.9%29.6%
Public admin and defence2.6%29.4%
Extraterritorial organisations4.6%27.8%
Mining and quarrying5.7%24.8%
Admin and support services5.6%23.2%
Water supply, sewerage, waste1.9%20.4%
Health and social work3.9%20.3%
Households as employers10.8%19.5%
Wholesale, retail, repair of vehicles3.2%13.4%
Transport and storage1.8%11.0%
Accommodation and food services2.1%10.0%

The extent to which people can and do work from home clearly varies quite a lot from one industry to the next.

For example, industries such as accommodation and food services and
transport and storage report the lowest levels of home working (10% and 11%),
which includes people who work on the railways and in hotels, bars and
restaurants, who obviously cannot really work from home and these are the
industries that could struggle in the coming weeks and months.

At the other end of the scale, we see that in sectors such as information and communication, more than half of workers have worked from home at some point.

Which Jobs Work from Home the Most?

OccupationMainly Work from HomeHave Ever Worked from Home
Chief Executives and Senior Officials8.9%69.2%
Media Professionals20.5%58.1%
Artistic, Literary and Media Occupations23.7%57.8%
Teaching and Educational Professionals3.8%57.8%
Health and Social Services Managers and Directors2.5%57.0%
Functional Managers and Directors13.2%56.1%
Legal Professionals5.4%55.7%
IT and Telecommunications Professionals11.4%55.0%
Business, Research and Administrative Professionals8.0%54.8%
Research and Development Managers2.7%54.8%

Looking at the top ten jobs which work from home the most, it definitely seems that those in high-skilled occupations are much more likely to have the ability to work from home, with occupations such as Chief Executives (69.2%) and Media Professionals (58.1%) working from home the most.

Note that some occupations see high levels of working from home, but low
numbers of people saying they ‘mainly’ work from home, such as teachers, who
obviously mainly work away from their home, but will also regularly carry out
work such as marking and planning from home.

Where is Home Working Most Popular?

RegionMainly Work from HomeHave Ever Worked from Home
South East6.8%34.9%
South West6.4%31.2%
East Midlands4.4%28.8%
Northern Ireland 3.8% 18.6%
East of England5.5%25.4%
Yorkshire and The Humber4.6%23.7%
North West4.2%21.5%
West Midlands4.3%21.3%
North East3.5%20.5%
Total 5.1% 26.7%

Home working is much more common in the South, particularly in the South East, where 34.9% have worked from home. That’s twice as many as in Northern Ireland, where just 18.6% of the workforce have done so.

How Old Are
Home Workers?

Age GroupMainly Work from HomeHave Ever Worked from Home
70 and over23.1%42.2%

Younger workers are far less likely to have worked from home, with those under 30 showing the lowest number of workers who have ever worked from home.

On the other hand, the opposite is true of those who have continued to
work past retirement age, with almost a quarter of over 70s who are still in
work doing so from home.

Working from Home Tips

If you, like many others at the moment, are working from home for the
first time, it can take a bit of getting used to and it can be difficult to
motivate yourself as you normally would in the office.

That’s why Business Comparison reached out to Twitter users to find out how others are making the most of their time working from home.

  1. Write a ‘To Do’ list the night before.

  2. Tackle the worst job first – eat the frog! 

  3. Work in 25-minute chunks with a five-minute break – Utilise the Pomodoro effect and consider the Focus Keeper App. 

  4. Turn off distractions – mobile notifications, TV, etc. & give yourself a reward, crème egg or make a decent coffee after achieving something. 

  5. Utilise online chat - eg Microsoft Teams or Zoom for face to face, so you feel connected and in charge. Don’t just rely on email to communicate, use the phone too.

  6. Get dressed – you don’t need to wear a suit but avoid sitting in your PJs all day.

  7. Choose your environment carefully – avoid lounging on the sofa. Experiment with locations around the house if you don’t have a dedicated office.

  8. Walk/Exercise – break up your day with some fresh air.

  9. Time block your diary – as if you were in the office at meetings or working to a schedule.

  10. Set boundaries - beware of your working day blurring into your home life.

- Rebecca Newenham -

“My advice is find your own space for working if at all possible. Even a small corner. Pack away when you’re finished for that mental ‘closure’. Work set hours if at all possible and get ‘ready’ - for me that’s hair, make-up, clothes.”

- Victoria Moffatt

“I used to work from home when freelancing (for over a year). Find what works for you! I loved creating my 'home office', using a spare room, but not everyone has one! I had my 'work mug' which I used only when working.”

- Hana Bednarova

Kerry Fawcett