Three-quarters want to keep working from home after Covid pandemic

More than three quarters of people who have worked from home during the Covid pandemic want to continue doing so at least on a part-time basis, a new study has found.

More than half (51 per cent) of the 3,000 people questioned said they would prefer to work from home most of the time.

More than a quarter said they would prefer to split their time between home and the office, and only 17 per cent said they would prefer to spend most of their working time in workplaces in future, the research, carried out for the Bright Blue think tank, showed.

Key benefits of home working included avoiding a commute – cited by 57 per cent of people – and greater flexibility in how and when they worked, cited by 48 per cent.

People working at home also felt they had more control over their jobs, from their daily routines to the hours they worked.

Working from home poll

There were, however, downsides, with 35 per cent saying the worst thing about working at home was an inability to switch off. 

This was followed by the difficulty of interacting with colleagues either by phone or on Zoom, with 34 per cent saying it was a problem. More than a quarter said they felt lonely.

Over half of home workers said they had experienced problems with poor internet and slow computers, and a similar proportion said that children under 18 were the biggest disruption to the working day.

Eleven per cent had experienced domestic abuse, but the majority said working at home had improved relations with their families. Bright Blue recommended that all employers with 50 or more employees should train one person as a designated point of contact for domestic abuse victims.

Phoebe Arslanagic-Wakefield, the report’s lead author, said: "As the omicron variant surges and the public is advised to work from home again where possible, our findings show that, while there are welcome benefits to home working, this will present serious challenges for many.

"A decent internet connection is vital for home workers to do their jobs effectively, but many have struggled with this throughout the pandemic. As working patterns shift permanently, this will also be an issue post-pandemic.

"The Government should introduce a new legal obligation for landlords to provide their tenants with a decent internet connection, recognising its vital importance in this new world of work and ensuring all are equipped to participate in the modern economy."

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