Homeworking 'stalled in recession'
The growth of homeworking stalled during the recent recession, says the TUC in a new analysis of official figures to mark National Work From Home Day today.
The TUC research shows that between 2005 and 2010, an extra 227,000 people said they mainly worked from home, bringing the total number of homeworkers to 3.7 million by 2010.
But its analysis shows that last year saw a small fall in the proportion of people working from home, from 12.9 to 12.8 per cent of the workforce, with the total number of homeworkers increasing by just 10,000.
High unemployment and job insecurity during the recession is likely to have made staff more reluctant to ask to work from home, says the TUC.
The TUC analysis coincides with National Work From Home Day, organised by Work Wise UK, as part of Work Wise Week 2011 (16-20 May).
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "Working from home can slash business costs, cut expensive and time-wasting commutes and help staff manage their workload more effectively.
"Over the last five years, more employers and staff have embraced working from home, though recent job insecurity has made some staff reluctant to ask for it. The tough economic climate makes the business case for homeworking even stronger, and unions are encouraging more businesses to give it a try.
"By taking part in National Work From Home Day, we can get the UK working smarter again."
Chief executive of Work Wise UK Phil Flaxton said: "Being able to work from home every now and again is a sensible move for individuals and their employers. The employee avoids the stressful daily commute and can concentrate on work without the usual office distractions.
"Smart employers know this already. Now it's time for the rest to wake up to the benefits of smarter working. Workers stuck with old-fashioned, rigid patterns of working based on 'presenteeism' want access to flexi-time and homeworking.
"Employers who fail to move with the times are likely to find their ability to attract and retain the best staff becomes increasingly difficult."