Latest data on hybrid working shows growth of regular working from home
New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) shows continued growth of regular working from home.
In May nearly a quarter of workers were hybrid working (24%), a rise of 11% from February 2022. While around 84% of people want to work a portion of their time at home (a percentage which has remained fairly constant) since April 2021, the pattern which workers would prefer to work has now shifted. 42% of people plan to work mostly from home and sometimes from the main place of work (a pattern preferred by 30% of people back in April 2021). The proportion of people who planned to return to working full time in their place of work fell from 11% in April 2021 to 8% in February 2022.
The TUC has analysed the recent ONS figures which form the Q4 Labour Force Survey. The analysis suggests that there is a regional difference in the proportion of people working regularly from home (29.7% in London compared with 19.2% in the East Midlands). The TUC points out that the experience of working from home would be different for everyone (there are similar hybrid working rates among different demographics) and that, for example, more women are likely to be balancing caring responsibilities with their work.
In the meantime a research-led guide to effective hybrid working has been published by the University of Leeds' Future Workplace team which emphasises that there is no "one-size fits all" hybrid work policy. The research, triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, examined the impact of changes to employee and employer perceptions over what a workplace is. The research project included a survey of 759 office workers, which found that 72% prefer to work from the office at least once a week and that 33% do not have a dedicated workspace at home. Only 6% of respondents were trained for hybrid activities and, although 41% are aware of a formal hybrid working policy, the office spaces of only 18% had been adapted specifically to support hybrid working.
The report also provides practical advice for employers who wish to create hybrid workplaces. It advises that employers need to clearly communicate their hybrid working policy and stresses that there will never be one policy that suits all employees. Effective hybrid working will require existing IT arrangements, organisational goals and culture to adapt to be successful. The report provides practical guidance on designing a hybrid policy.