Homeworking on the rise as growing number of employers introduce hybrid models for staff
The pandemic has sparked a permanent increase in homeworking, with support from employers and staff for changes to working practices, according to a new report.
The TUC said many workplaces and workers are still trialling new arrangements for homeworking and hybrid working and negotiating long-term policies.
But there is evidence in support of change, with nine in 10 of those who worked from home during the pandemic saying they want to continue working remotely at least some of the time, said the union organisation.
Regular homeworking has increased since before the pandemic, rising from 6.8% of workers in 2019, and 12.1% in 2020, to 22.4% in 2021, according to a TUC study.
Despite successful homeworking during the pandemic, trade unions say some of their members are now being denied homeworking requests without their employer giving them a genuinely good reason.
Some workers have also received negative treatment from their employer as a result of working flexibly, said the TUC.
General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone should have access to flexible working, but while homeworking has grown, people in jobs that can’t be done from home have been left behind.
“They deserve access to flexible working too, and they need new rights to options like flexitime, predictable shifts and job shares.
“Homeworkers also need better legal protection. It’s great that some employers are much more supportive now, but many others are still behind the times, turning down homeworking requests without good reason.”
Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, which promotes flexible working, said: “Following the global pandemic, the landscape of how, when and where we work has changed dramatically and many employees will continue to balance work between their place of work and home, known as hybrid working.
“However, it is vital that the UK does not become a nation of those who can and those who cannot work flexibly.”
The two organisations marked the annual Work From Home Day on Friday to promote employment practices that improve the work-life balance.