Working from home (WFH) statistics 2021

60% of employees are working from home during coronavirus pandemic. How can you make the most of working from home?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink the majority of our daily activities, from how we shop to where we invest. Work culture is no exception.

On 16th March 2020, the British government instructed people to work from home where possible. A year on, our research estimates that 60% of us are still working from the confines of our own homes. To mark the anniversary, we have compiled some statistics exploring who is working from home, how working from home is affecting people’s mental health and productivity, and the effect of working from home on spending (or saving).

Quick overview: the latest statistics

  • Our research found that 60% of the UK’s adult population are currently working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown.
  • 26% of Brits plan to continue to work from home permanently or occasionally after lockdown.
  • On average, each of these workers will save £44.78 a week by cutting out things like commuting and buying lunch out.
  • This results in 23.9 million Brits working from home are saving around £1.1 billion each week between them.
  • Before the lockdown only 1.54 million people worked from home for their main job, just 6% of how many do now during lockdown. 10 years ago this figure was a mere 884,000.
  • Two different surveys both found that around two-thirds of employees say they’re more productive when working from home.
  • However, one in five remote workers have also said they struggle with loneliness.

60% of the UK’s adult population were working from home

Benefits of working from home

Increased productivity

Employees generally appreciate a company that allows them to work from home and research has suggested that this could also boost productivity for the employer.

  • 65% of workers said they would be more productive in a home office than a normal office.
  • 75% of workers say they will be more productive due to reduced distractions.
  • 83% of employees feel they do not need an office to be productive.
  • Two-thirds of employers report increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers.

Amount of money saved by working from home

Currently, around 60% of the UK’s population has left the workplace to work from home and 9 in 10 (89%) believe this is reducing their expenditure.

By not having to do things like commuting and buy lunch every day, the average employed worker said they save £44.78 every week.

Percentage that will save Average savings Total savings per week Average savings over 3 weeks Total savings over 3 weeks
Working 53.20% £44.78 £2,098,155,913 £134.34 £6,294,467,738

Claiming on expenses while working at home

You may be able to claim tax relief if you have to work from home, for instance due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Examples of additional costs include heating bills, new broadband connection payments, and metered water bills that have increased as a result of working at home. See the Government webpage to claim now.

As a business looking to support yourself during the pandemic, our business loans guides will help you get started.

Savings on working from home per region

Londoners are saving the most cash by working from home, at an average of £57.78 per week, possibly reflecting the capital’s high commuting costs. Second biggest savers are those working in Wales, who are saving £50.16 per week.

Other UK regions where workers report saving the least of all regions are Scotland (£35.47), North East (£35.65) and South West (£37.47).

Region Saved per week
Northern Ireland £41.62
South West £37.47
South East £46.04
East of England £42.23
West Midlands £39.48
East Midlands £43.96
Yorshire and the Humber £43.40
North West £47.10
North East £35.65
Wales £50.16
Scotland £35.47
London £57.78

More free time

The average daily commute time in the UK is now 59 minutes. This means that people working from home will save almost five hours a week that they would normally spend in transit. As well as being good news for employees, some of this extra time may be spent working.

For those trying to turn a profit during COVID-19, this extra time could be seen as an opportunity to invest in their financial futures. From skyrocketing shares in vaccine providers to mass investment strategies devised through social media platforms, the pandemic has triggered a global shift in investing behaviours.

Region Minutes of daily commute
North East 49.2
North West 54.8
Yorkshire and the Humber 52.4
East Midlands 51.8
West Midlands 56
East England 61.4
London 79.2
South East 63.4
South West 49.8
Wales 50.8
Scotland 53.4
Northern Ireland 50.4

Less pollution

Another benefit for the UK during the coronavirus crisis will be the reduced emissions from workers not commuting and from manufacturing or transport companies that have reduced operations as their employees are not able to work from home. As an example, it is said that if those with remote-compatible jobs worked at home half the time it could result in saving 54 million tonnes of greenhouse gas, equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road.

The full impacts of the shutdown and the environmental benefits are not yet known in the UK, but estimates for the reduction of pollution in China include:

  • CO2 emissions dropped by at least 25% in February 2020.
  • The number of “good quality air days” increased by 22% in February 2020.
  • Around 77,000 lives may have been saved due to the reduction in air pollution.

The potential drawbacks of working from home

While working from home may seem an attractive proposition, drawbacks have been identified that could impact wellbeing and eventually, productivity.

  • 30.9% of remote workers say that they struggle with loneliness when working remotely.
  • 22% of telecommuters say that “switching off” after work is their biggest challenge.
  • 62% of remote workers want employers to provide better technology that helps them stay connected with their colleagues.

Working longer hours

Working from home alone can also lead to fewer breaks, shorter lunches or just longer hours. Those earning around the UK’s average salary (£29,600) would lose out on £14.57 by working just one hour extra per day. By taking a shorter lunch break or working 30 minutes longer per day, you would be working 10 hours unpaid every month, which is worth £174.80 for Brits on the average salary.

Salary per year 1 hour overtime 2 hours overtime 3 hours overtime 4 hours overtime 5 hours overtime 6 hours overtime
£25,000 £12.30 £24.60 £36.90 £49.20 £61.50 £73.80
£27,000 £13.29 £26.57 £39.86 £53.15 £66.44 £79.72
£29,600 £14.57 £29.13 £43.70 £58.27 £72.83 £87.40
£33,000 £16.24 £32.48 £48.72 £64.96 £81.20 £97.44
£36,000 £17.72 £35.43 £53.15 £70.87 £88.58 £106.30
£39,000 £19.19 £38.39 £57.58 £76.77 £95.96 £115.16
£42,000 £20.67 £41.34 £62.01 £82.68 £103.35 £124.02
£45,000 £22.15 £44.29 £66.44 £88.58 £110.73 £132.87
£50,000 £24.61 £49.21 £73.82 £98.43 £123.03 £147.64
£55,000 £27.07 £54.13 £81.20 £108.27 £135.33 £162.40
£60,000 £29.53 £59.06 £88.58 £118.11 £147.64 £177.17
£70,000 £34.45 £68.90 £103.35 £137.80 £172.24 £206.69
£80,000 £39.37 £78.74 £118.11 £157.48 £196.85 £236.22
£90,000 £44.29 £88.58 £132.87 £177.17 £221.46 £265.75
£100,000 £49.21 £98.43 £147.64 £196.85 £246.06 £295.28

Feeling lonely

5% of Brits during lockdown can be categorised as ‘chronically lonely’, which amounts to roughly 2.6 million people. Another 14.3% can be described as ‘lockdown lonely’, referring to those whose well-being had been affected by feeling lonely in the past seven days. Below are the demographic characteristics that are likely to contribute to loneliness, both chronically and for the lockdown.

Demographics more likely to be likely Chronic loneliness Lockdown loneliness
Divorced or Seperated 9.70% 53.20%
Single 9% 53%
Adults Living Alone 13.40% 57.20%
Rented Accomodation 8.60% 38.80%

Those living alone are the are the most likely to be lonely, for both categories of loneliness. The second strongest demographic predictors for loneliness are being single or being divorced, which both increase your likelihood of lockdown loneliness by over 50%.

I think it is going to be more socially acceptable for people to take the occasional day working from home.”

Howard Dawber, head of strategy at Canary Wharf Group

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

Sources

  • Finder UK
  • Forbes
  • Gov.UK
  • CNN
  • Ocado
  • BBC
  • ChinaDaily
  • CarbonBrief
  • TUC

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked
Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site