Working from home (WFH) statistics
60% of employees are working from home during the 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 16 March 2020, the British government instructed people to work from home where possible. Our research found that 60% of us were working from the confines of our own homes during the first lockdown and this is likely to have been the case in the other lockdowns we have had since as well. 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 worked from home during the first 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 who 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. 10 years ago this figure was a mere 884,000.
- 2 different surveys both found that around two-thirds of employees say they’re more productive when working from home.
- However, 1 in 5 remote workers have also said they struggle with loneliness.
Benefits of working from home
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
Back when lockdown was first in place, 60% of the UK’s population were working from home. At the time, 9 in 10 (89%) Brits believed this shift would reduce their expenditure, specifically due to a drastic reduction in commuting and buying lunch every day. In reality, the average employed worker saved £44.78 every week.
|Percentage that will save||Average savings||Total savings per week|
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 save the most by working from home, with an average of £57.78 per week being pocketed – a possible reflection of the capital’s high commuting costs. The second biggest savers are in Wales, where those working from home are saving £50.16 per week. UK regions where workers report saving the least are Scotland (£35.47), the North East (£35.65) and the South West (£37.47).
|Region||Saved per week|
|East of England||£42.23|
|Yorshire and the Humber||£43.40|
More free time
The average daily commute time in the UK is 59 minutes. This means that people working from home will save almost 5 hours a week by omitting their daily commute to the office. As well as being good news for employees, some of this extra time could be spent working – a plus for employers too.
For those trying to turn a profit during COVID-19, this extra time could also 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|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||52.4|
If those with remote-compatible jobs work at home for just half of the year, it could result in saving 54 million tonnes of greenhouse gas – equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road. The environmental impacts of the UK’s previous lockdowns are not yet known, but estimates for the reduction of pollution in China (as a result of the lockdown) include the below environmental benefits:
- 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.
Working from home abroad
Another benefit of working from home is that with easing restrictions enabling international travel, working remotely abroad is a very feasible option. A perk for travel enthusiasts is that working from home does not necessarily mirror a “stay at home” policy, which means that working remotely while abroad is possible, and a great way to see the world without taking annual leave. Understandably, there is a significant percentage of individuals wanting to take advantage of this emerging perk of the work from home shift.
- 42% of employees would want to use their company’s remote working policy to work from abroad.
- There is a higher proportion of women who would like to work remotely compared to men (45% vs 39%).
- 58% of survey respondents would highly consider looking for a new job if they could not continue working remotely.
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 an 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|
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 wellbeing had been affected by feeling lonely in the past 7 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 separated||9.70%||53.20%|
|Adults living alone||13.40%||57.20%|
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%.
Access to the Internet
Unfortunately, working from home can cause Internet connectivity problems to arise. A recent survey found that many Brits are having to use mobile broadband (mobile data) to stay connected. With many offices having faster and more reliable Internet connections than homes, the difficulty that comes with an unreliable Wi-Fi connection can be a significant downside to working from home.
- It was found that 36% of Brits regularly switch to mobile broadband to stay online, with 61% saying it has made their working experience better.
- 47% of survey respondents experienced increased stress due to Internet connectivity issues in their homes.
- 28% have also considered switching to mobile data for important calls.
- 67% of working from home employees stated mobile data connectivity access as an important factor when deciding where to live in the future.
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