Enterprise IT

So… you start work at 10:45am? New ONS figures capture remote working shifts.

Your average sedentary desk jockey working from home now doesn’t actually start work until the leisurely hour of 10:45am, a new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) claims — although an increasingly greater proportion of people working remotely are now likely to be found at their desk between 6pm and 11pm.

The numbers were released today (April 19) in an intriguing new report: Homeworking hours, rewards and opportunities in the UK: 2011 to 2020. Among its other takeways is a reminder that pre-pandemic, working from home was often an indication that you were a second-class citizen in terms of career prospects.

As the ONS report notes: “People who mainly worked from home were less than half as likely to be promoted than all other workers between 2012 and 2017, when controlling for other factors. People who mainly worked from home were around 38% less likely on average to have received a bonus compared with those who never worked from home between 2013 and 2020, when controlling for other factors.”

This has changed. As the report reveals, the average gross weekly pay of workers who had recently worked from home was about 20% higher in 2020 than those who never worked from home in their main job.

Figures for remote work meanwhile vary dramatically across the UK.

London reported the highest proportion of homeworkers in 2020, with 43.0% working from home at some point in the past year, up from 31.0% in 2019. Northern Ireland had the lowest proportion of home workers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in 2020, the industry with the highest proportion of any homeworking was information and communication, the ONS reveals, with 62.0% of workers in the sector “WFH”.

The report reveals some notable shifts in working hours post-pandemic. When the Covid-19 outbreak began and a large working population en masse shifted to remote work, most kept to their office hours.

But from around September 2020, a notable shift took place, the ONS report reveals — with a greater proportion of people likely to be found starting late and working late (for many, no doubt when the kids are respectively at school/in bed), with those working remotely taking longer breaks.

(Another key takeaway: for those reading this from a home office and lulled into thinking the vast majority of people are also now remote workers, the figures show that it is actually 35.9% of the employed population who “did some work at home in 2020”, up 9.4% from 2019.)

Bev White, CEO of recruiter Harvey Nash Group, noted: “Looking forward, there’s no doubt the future is hybrid. We’re going to see a flexible mix of remote working and time spent in the office. Done well, this can represent the best of both worlds for individuals and employers alike: a new deal.

White added: “Our recent Technology & Talent Study found that over three quarters of tech workers based in the UK want to continue to work from home 3-5 days a week. And when it comes to looking at new positions, a third are prepared to consider roles formally based further away than they would have previously looked at due to the greater ability to work remotely. At Harvey Nash, we’re also seeing a rise in clients specifying remote-first roles that are location agnostic. They’re tapping into a wider – even global – talent pool.”

See also: Is Nigeria an overlooked IT outsourcing gold mine?

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