Should I be working from home now?
- Published 31 January 2022
- Coronavirus pandemic
Scotland and England have lifted their guidance to work from home.
However, people in Northern Ireland and Wales are still advised to work remotely where possible.
What are the work from home rules?
In England the government is no longer asking people to work from home . It had previously asked people to do so, to help tackle the spread of Omicron.
In Scotland, similar guidance has now been relaxed . The government wants firms to let workers return gradually - allowing them to spend some time in the office and some time at home.
In Northern Ireland , current guidance is to work from home where you can. Offices no longer need to take reasonable measures for 2m (6ft) social distancing, although risk assessments should still be carried out.
In Wales , the government says it remains important to work from home if you can. A legal restriction to work from home unless unavoidable - with £60 fines for anyone who did not comply - has been scrapped.
What do firms have to do to keep workers safe?
Employers are asked to follow official safety guidance and carry out Covid risk assessments for those staff who are in the office.
Safety measures can include:
- improving ventilation
- additional cleaning
- turning away people with Covid
There is more detailed advice for some industries - including construction, hospitality and manufacturing, plus specific advice for employers in England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland .
Face-coverings remain mandatory for staff and customers in shops and on public transport across the UK, apart from England.
Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have Covid passport schemes which are partly designed to protect staff who work in hospitality and events.
If employees feel unsafe, they can raise concerns with their local authority, Citizens Advice or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) .
Does working from home help stop Covid?
Working from home is one of the most effective ways to reduce exposure to Covid, according to the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) .
It greatly limits face-to-face contact - both with colleagues and on public transport.
How safe is commuting by public transport?
Much of the risk depends on how crowded it is and your distance from other people .
Wearing a mask helps, as does keeping windows open, and avoiding peak journey times where possible.
How many people have been working from home?
In 2020, 37% of working UK adults did at least some work from home , up from 27% the previous year.
- Flexible working
- Coronavirus lockdown measures
Working from home UK statistics 2023
Updated: 1 January 2023
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the numbers of people working from home in the UK has dramatically increased. That’s no surprise.
But now, with advice from the government constantly changing, how will homeworking in the UK change? Will the numbers of remote workers decrease as we continue into 2023? Will we embrace hybrid working? What will the trends look like?
Here, we have collated the information available for working from home in the UK in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 from a series of studies and surveys to provide a picture on what the WFH landscape looks like.
Remote working prior to 2020
Working from home is a modern phenomenon. Prior to 2020, working from home was the exception, not the rule.
Homeworking was relatively rare in 1981 when only 1.5% of those in employment reported working mainly at home, but by 2019 it had tripled to 4.7% ( source )
The proportion reporting that they worked exclusively at home rose from 5.7% of workers in January/February 2020 to 43.1% in April 2020 ( source )
Before the pandemic, staff went into the office an average of 3.8 days a week. ( source )
Population working from home
Working from home at start of lockdown.
When lockdown hit in March 2020, the numbers of remote workers changed overnight - mostly due to the impact of COVID-19.
In April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home ( source )
Of those who did some work from home, 86.0% did so as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic ( source )
Women were slightly more likely to do some work at home than men, 47.5% and 45.7% respectively ( source )
57.2% of people living in London did some work at home ( source )
40% of respondents’ perceptions about working from home has substantially improved ( source )
5% of those respondents’ perceptions have slightly worsened ( source )
Working from home after lockdown
There’s a mixed reaction to the future of working from home in the UK in 2021 - but a trend is emerging for ‘ hybrid working ’, where employees are keen to split their work between home and the office.
Fifty of the biggest UK employers have said they have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future ( source )
21% of respondents never want to work from home in 2022 ( source )
19% of respondents want to work from home 5 days a week in 2022 ( source )
Over 55s are the most likely to want to work from home permanently ( source )
16-24 year olds favour working in the office full-time ( source )
85% of employees currently working from home want a ‘hybrid’ approach of both home and office working in future ( source )
In June 2021, 44% of those aged between 30 and 49 worked from home because of COVID-19 ( source )
38% of workers earning £40,000 or more, and 32% of those earning between £30,000 and £40,000, hybrid worked between 27 April and 8 May 2022 ( source ), as lower income earners are less likely to work from home
78% of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to work from home gave them an improved work life balance ( source )
47% workers recorded improved well-being from working from home in some capacity ( source )
The working from home tax relief was claimed by more than 3 million people for the 2020/21 tax year ( source )
Hybrid working - the future of working from home?
With lockdown measures now eased in many countries, employers and employees are now trying to strike a balance between pre-pandemic working in the office and a more flexible working from home culture, which has led to a recent rise in “hybrid working”, where employees spend their work time split between the office and home. What impact has this had? Can it be maintained long term? Is hybrid working productive?
80% of people leaders reported that a hybrid setup was exhausting for employees ( source )
47% of American workers prefer to work in a hybrid model ( source )
In the UK, this is even higher, with 58% of workers preferring to work in a hybrid model (updated source )
21% of respondents who had quit their jobs in 2021 reported doing so because of lack of flexible working hours or location ( source )
Office workers went to the office an average of 3.8 days per week pre-pandemic. Post-COVID, this has reduced to an average of 1.4 days per week ( source )
Just 13% of workers go into the office on a Friday ( source )
The proportion of people hybrid working as risen in 2022. 14% worked from home exclusively between 27 April and 8 May 2022, while 24% both worked from home and travelled to work ( source )
High earners are more likely to hybrid work. 38% of workers earning £40,000 or more hybrid worked between 27 April and 8 May 2022, while only 8% of those earning up to £15,000 reported hybrid working ( source )
Commuting to work
Since September 2022, there has been a surge in workers returning to their offices in Central London ( source )
As of October 2022, representative average daily demand on the London Underground was about 82% of pre-pandemic levels ( source )
As of October 2022, bus demand was around 84% of pre-pandemic levels ( source )
Cycling now exceeds pre-pandemic levels of demand at 140% of pre-pandemic levels ( source )
Differences among the days of the traditional working week have been exacerbated since the pandemic, with Tuesday to Thursday now having a relatively higher difference to Mondays and Fridays ( source )
How long have people been working from home?
Some people are seasoned professionals when it comes to working from home, others have only started to embrace homeworking in the past few years. As we can see from a 2020 survey, however, most remote workers around the world had only done so since the start of COVID-19:
56% of respondents have worked remotely for less than a year
21% have worked remotely for less than 5 years
14% have worked remotely for less than 10 years
7% have worked remotely for over 10 years
1% could not respond ( source )
Productivity of remote workers
It’s not clear how much working from home improves the productivity of workers, but those who’ve found remote working beneficial for their productivity levels want to remain working from home in the future. In fact, many have found that they’ve actually worked longer hours because they’re at home.
40.9% of homeworkers reported that they were able to get as much work done in June 2020 as they were six months earlier ( source )
28.9% said that they got more done, while 30.2% said that their productivity had fallen ( source )
65.5% of employees who reported that they were able to produce much more per hour while working at home in lockdown wanted to work mainly at home in the future ( source )
30% report an increase in their hours whilst working from home ( source )
55% report that they concentrate better working from home ( source )
80% would recommend working at home to a friend ( source )
80% are able to accomplish all their tasks remotely ( source )
How much work can respondents do at home?
Working from home and mental health.
Employee wellbeing is important, whether they’re in the office or at home. It’s been found that people are generally happier working from home because it allows for more flexibility, but there has been struggles when it comes to communicating and collaborating with teammates.
81% of younger workers say they would feel more isolated without time in the office ( source )
56% reported an increase in happiness levels when working ( source )
48% reported they need to communicate more to demonstrate their value ( source )
60% reported that they feel less connected to colleagues ( source )
30% have found it difficult separating their home lives from their work lives ( source )
29% of organisations have introduced additional resources to support employees’ physical and mental wellbeing ( source )
The biggest struggle with working remotely is not being able to unplug, followed by difficulties with collaboration and communication ( source )
The most named benefit of working from home is flexible scheduling, followed by the lack of commute ( source )
Working from home and attire
The increase in working from home seemingly brought in a whole new fashion trend - comfy working from home clothes. Many workers embraced - and continue to enjoy - the benefits of a more relaxed outfit when working from home. But some have argued against the typical WFH dress code. What do you think?
89% of employees said “absolutely not” to formal dress codes for remote work
65% of managers think employees who work from home should dress smarter
55% of managers think remote workers should dress more smartly on video calls
53% of employees say they dress differently for working in the office versus working at home
48% of employers said they were considering a formal dress code for hybrid work
42% of employees said having a formal dress code introduced would cause them to look for a new job ( source )
WFH statistics by industry
As expected, the popularity and success of working from home differs depending on the type of work and type of business, with those working in IT finding it easiest to work from home.
IT and telecoms professional are most likely to work from home full-time ( source )
Healthcare employees are least likely to work from home ( source )
The larger the business, the more likely it is that employees are working from home full-time ( source )
Where homeworkers work
Lucky homeworkers already had an office to use when lockdown and subsequent work from home requests struck. However, many WFHers have had no option but to use another room for work.
28% of respondents work in their study ( source )
27% of respondents work from their living room ( source )
17% of respondents work in their bedroom ( source )
The average remote working day starts at 8.45am and finishes at 5.22 pm ( source )
Where do respondents work in their house?
Benefits of working from home.
There are more people working from home than ever, whether or not by choice. There are a number of advantages to homeworking in the UK, according to those who do:
The main benefit is flexible scheduling, according to 50% of respondents
The second main benefit is a lack of commute, according to 43% of respondents
34% find that working from home allows them to look after family, pets, ageing or unwell relatives better
33% love the savings that WFH brings
Another benefit is reduced anxiety/stress, according to 32% of respondents
25% cited improved health, whether it’s mental, physical or spiritual
Reduced office politics is another big benefit to working from home, according to 19% of respondents
18% state that homeworking gives them the freedom to travel or relocate entirely ( source )
Disadvantages of working from home
Despite the flexibility of working from home, there are times when remote workers struggle to manage their work-life balance. Here are some of the cons teleworkers around the world have when working remotely in 2021:
27% struggle to unplug at the end of the day
16% have difficulties with collaboration and communication
16% experience loneliness
15% have distractions at home
12% struggle to stay motivated
7% find it challenging working in different timezones to their teammates ( source )
The rise of videoconferencing
Along with the sudden rise of working from home, the use of videoconferencing apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet has dramatically increased in the last few years.
How many users downloaded Zoom at the start of the pandemic?
In February 2020, there were just under 5 million downloads of the Zoom app (on iOS and Android) globally. By March 2020, this had surged to 26.9 million downloads, according to Prioriti Data ( source ).
What were the leading videoconferencing platforms used in 2020?
Zoom - 50.3% of respondents
Microsoft Teams - 12% of respondents
Facebook Live - 9.4% of respondents
Instagram Live - 7.3% of respondents
GoToWebinar - 5.8% of respondents
YouTube Live - 5.2% of respondents
On24 - 4.7% of respondents
WebEx - 1% of respondents
At the onset of the pandemic, Zoom was by far the most used videoconferencing platform compared to similar counterparts, like Teams and WebEx ( source ). This has led to the rise of the so-called “Zoom fatigue” .
Round up of working from home statistics
Scroll along the charts above.
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- Release calendar
Homeworking and spending during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Great Britain: April 2020 to January 2022
Analysis of how working from home has affected individuals’ spending, how this differs by characteristics, and how consumer spending has been affected.
This is the latest release.
Contact: James Probert
Release date: 14 February 2022
Next release: To be announced
Table of contents
- Main points
- Homeworking and spending by characteristic
- Homeworking and spending by spending area
- The macroeconomic effect of homeworking on consumer spending
- Defining homeworking
- Homeworking and spending during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic data
- Data sources and quality
- Related links
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1. Main points
Between 19 and 30 January 2022, 36% of working adults reported having worked from home at least once in the last seven days because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Almost half (46%) of these homeworkers said they spent less as a result of homeworking because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A similar proportion of homeworkers reported spending less when interviewed in November (49%).
The area where homeworkers most commonly saw spending increase was utility bills, where 86% reported their spending had risen.
Half of homeworkers (50%) reported spending less on fuel and parking for commuting, and two fifths (40%) reported spending less on commuting using public transport.
Around 9 in 10 homeworkers who live in rented housing (92%) reported increased spending on utilities, compared with 86% of those who are currently paying a mortgage and 77% of homeworkers who own their home outright.
Homeworkers with dependent children are slightly more likely to report increased spending on food (39%), utilities (89%), and internet access (27%) than those without dependent children (29%, 85% and 23%) respectively.
The percentage of people homeworking is positively correlated with the stringency of COVID-19 restrictions and negatively correlated with aggregate spending on debit and credit cards.
Further information on how we have defined homeworking in this article is laid out in Section 5 .
2. Homeworking and spending by characteristic
Over a third of working adults (36%) reported having worked from home at least once in the past seven days because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) data collected between 19 and 30 January 2022.
This proportion has increased slightly in recent weeks but is below the peak recorded from 11 – 14 June 2020, during the first lockdown, when nearly half of all workers worked from home (49%).
In the most recent OPN data (19 to 30 January 2022), nearly half (46%) of these homeworkers reported having spent less as a result of working from home because of the pandemic. In contrast, just 18% said their spending had risen, 28% that it had remained the same and 8% were unsure. The last time the OPN asked this question (3 to 14 November 2021), 49% of homeworkers reported spending less as a result of working from home because of the pandemic, and 14% reported spending more.
Figure 1: Almost half of homeworkers reported spending less as a result of homeworking more because of the coronavirus pandemic
Proportion of homeworkers who report changes in their spending on account of increased homeworking because of the coronavirus pandemic, great britain, 19 to 30 january 2022.
Source: Office for National Statistics – Opinions and Lifestyle Survey
- The question being asked was "Since working from home more because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, do you feel you are spending more or less money?" The base was working adults who reported working from home in the past seven days because of the coronavirus pandemic between 19 and 30 January 2022.
Download this chart Figure 1: Almost half of homeworkers reported spending less as a result of homeworking more because of the coronavirus pandemic
Nearly half (48%) of employees who worked from home reported spending less since the pandemic, compared to around a third (32%) of those who are self-employed and worked from home.
This might be a result of self-employed workers being more likely than employees to have worked from home pre-pandemic . Nearly half of self-employed workers (49%) said they were spending the same as before the pandemic compared with 26% of employees, and self-employed workers were less likely than employees to have spent less on fuel and parking for commuting since the pandemic. However, care needs to be taken when interpreting figures on self-employed workers due to small sample sizes.
Figure 2: Nearly half of self-employed homeworkers did not see a change in spending
Proportion of homeworkers who have seen their spending change since the coronavirus pandemic, by employment status, Great Britain, 19 to 30 January 2022
The question being asked was "Since working from home more because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, do you feel you are spending more or less money?" The base was adults who reported being self-employed or reported being an employee and working from home in the past seven days because of the coronavirus pandemic between 19 and 30 January 2022.
Care needs to be taken when interpreting figures on self-employed homeworkers because of small sample sizes.
Confidence intervals are presented in the reference tables.
Download the data
Homeworkers with dependent children were more likely than those without to report a change in spending. A fifth of homeworkers with dependent children (22%) reported increased spending, compared with (16%) of those without dependent children. Those with dependent children appeared more likely to report increased spending on food (39%), utilities (89%), and internet access (27%) compared to those without dependent children (29%, 85% and 23%) respectively.
A slightly higher proportion of homeworkers with dependent children also reported spending less (48%) than homeworkers without dependent children (45%). A higher percentage of those with dependent children reported reduced spending on fuel and parking for commuting (55%) and public transport for commuting (42%) compared to those without dependent children (47% and 38% respectively). No change in spending was more common amongst homeworkers without dependent children (30%) than homeworkers with dependent children (25%).
In contrast, the proportion of those with dependent children who reported spending less (48%) was slightly higher than those without dependent children (45%). Almost half of men (49%) reported spending less as a result of homeworking which is slightly higher than women (43%).
In addition to the demographic differences in spending reported above, previous analysis on which jobs can be done from home has found differences in ability to work from home across occupations and demographics, with lower earners, frontline workers, and men less likely to be able to work from home.
3. Homeworking and spending by spending area
The most common areas where people who worked from home reported seeing their spending increase was utilities and internet.
More than 8 in 10 (86%) of respondents said they had spent more on utility bills since working from home because of the pandemic, similar to the 82% who reported higher spending on utility bills from 3 to 14 November 2021. This could reflect higher power and heating bills as workers spend time at home that would usually be spent in their place of work.
This may also in part reflect the rise in energy bill prices, following the rise of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) energy price cap in October 2021. Whether working from home or not, most OPN respondents reported their cost of living rising in early 2022 , with energy bills a common cause of increased spending, especially for those on lower incomes .
Almost a quarter of people working from home (24%) said they spent more on internet. In March 2021, the UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom reported increased average broadband speeds compared with November 2019 , as households upgraded their internet packages because of mass homeworking and learning.
In contrast, 50% of people who worked from home said they had spent less on fuel and parking for commuting since working from home because of the pandemic, and 40% said they were spending less on commuting using public transport since working from home because of the pandemic.
Very few people who worked from home reported that their spending on food stayed the same. A third (33%) said they spent more on food since working from home, and 34% said they had spent less.
It's not clear why food spending changed in opposing ways for so many homeworkers. This could reflect the amount people chose to dine out since restrictions were eased, or people making changes to their grocery shopping.
Figure 3: Homeworkers were most likely to have spent more on utilities, and less on commuting
Difference in the proportion of homeworkers who spent more and less on different areas as a result of working from home, Great Britain, 19 to 30 January 2022
- The question being asked was "Which, if any of these, are you spending less/more money on now that you are working from home more?" The base was working adults who reported working from home in the past seven days because of coronavirus between 19 and 30 January 2022. Respondents were able to choose more than one option.
The vast majority of homeworkers who live in rented housing (92%) reported their spending on utilities had increased. This was 15 percentage points higher than the proportion of homeworkers who own their home outright who saw spending on utilities rise (77%). Among homeworkers who are currently paying off a mortgage, 86% said their spending on utilities had increased since the pandemic.
Compared with the period 3 – 14 November 2021, the proportion of homeworkers in rented housing who reported spending more on utilities as a result of homeworking increased by 10 percentage points (92% in January 2022 compared with 82% in November 2021). The proportion of homeworkers who reported spending more on utilities in homes they owned outright and in homes they pay a mortgage on rose by 3 percentage points and 1 percentage point, respectively.
Figure 4: Homeworkers in rented housing were more likely to report increased spending on utilities than those who own their home outright
Proportion of homeworkers spending less and more on utilities, by housing tenure, Great Britain, 19 to 30 January 2022
- The question being asked was "Which, if any of these, are you spending less/more money on now that you are working from home more?" The base was working adults who reported working from home in the past seven days because of the coronavirus pandemic between 19 and 30 January 2022. Respondents were able to choose more than one option.
4. The macroeconomic effect of homeworking on consumer spending
It is challenging to identify the extent to which homeworking during the pandemic has affected consumer spending, because increased numbers of people working from home has coincided with changes in other factors which affect spending, such as spikes in coronavirus (COVID-19) infection levels, retail and hospitality closures, domestic and foreign travel restrictions and various safety measures in public places.
The Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) collects information on the measures that governments have taken to tackle COVID-19 and provides a Stringency Index that quantifies the strictness of policies through time. This OxCGRT Stringency Index is significantly positively correlated with the percentage of people reporting they are homeworking in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) and significantly negatively correlated with the Google Mobility Workplace Index. The Google Mobility Workplace Index reports movement trends over time in workplaces and provides an additional measure of homeworking.
These correlations indicate that, at times when restrictions were strict, fewer people were spending time in workplaces and more people were working from home.
Figure 5: The percentage of homeworkers is correlated with the stringency of coronavirus restrictions
Percentage of adults who report working from home, Great Britain; Oxford Stringency Index, UK, April 2020 to January 2022
The percentage of adults who report working from home is taken from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), which has been released weekly or every other week between April 2020 and January 2022.
The Oxford Stringency Index records the strictness of “lockdown style” policies that primarily restrict people’s behaviour to a value from 0 to 100 (100 = the most strict). It is calculated using all ordinal containment and closure policy indicators, plus an indicator recording public information campaigns. The Oxford Stringency Index simply records the number and strictness of government policies and should not be interpreted as “scoring” the appropriateness or effectiveness of a country’s response.
Data for weekends and bank holidays were removed from the Oxford Stringency Index to maintain consistency and allow for direct comparisons.
The Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) indicator lacks data for weekends and bank holidays.
The Bank of England’s aggregate Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) based indicator of credit and debit card purchases is significantly negatively correlated with the percentage of people working from home and significantly positively correlated with the Google Mobility Workplace Index.
Figure 6: Spending on credit and debit cards is correlated with the number of people in workplaces
Aggregated clearing house automated payment system (chaps) card spending index, google workplace mobility index, uk, april 2020 to january 2022.
Source: Bank of England, Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) payments, Google Mobility Index.
- The aggregate CHAPS-based index: February 2020 = 100, is a backward looking seven-day rolling average, non-seasonally adjusted.
- Google Workplace Mobility data is reported as the change in mobility, relative to a five-week base period in January to February 2020. In plotting both indices in figure 6, 100 has been added to the Google Workplace Mobility index.
- The CHAPS indicator lacks data for weekends and bank holidays.
- Data for weekends and bank holidays were also removed from the Google Workplace Mobility index to maintain consistency and allow for direct comparisons.
Download this chart Figure 6: Spending on credit and debit cards is correlated with the number of people in workplaces
Using only these data, it isn’t possible to establish direct causality or estimate the amount by which homeworking has contributed to reduced credit and debit card expenditure. However, these results indicates that there was less spending on credit and debit cards when fewer people were spending time in workplaces and more people were reporting working from home.
5. Defining homeworking
Working adults responding to the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey were asked if they had 'worked from home in the past seven days because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic'. Between 19 and 30 January 2022, 670 respondents (36% of working adults) reported having worked from home at some point in the past seven days.
These individuals were then asked, 'since working from home more because of the COVID-19 pandemic, do you feel you are spending more or less money?' and which, if any areas, they were spending more or less money on.
Defining homeworking as 'having worked from home in the past seven days' incorporates individuals who might otherwise be classified as hybrid working into our definition of homeworking, which may increase variability in responses. However, limited sample size precludes breaking the dataset down to look at homeworking in terms of e.g. the number of days individuals have worked from home in the past seven.
6. Homeworking and spending during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic data
Working from home and spending: regression outputs, standard linear ordinary least squares between different variables Dataset | 14 February 2022 Analysis of the relationships between COVID-19 restrictions, homeworking and spending, comparison of these variables: percentage of homeworkers, Google Workplace Mobility Index, Oxford Stringency Index and CHAPS spending.
Effects of working from home on finances Dataset | 14 February 2022 Analysis of how working from home has affected individuals’ spending and how this differs by characteristics, Great Britain.
In this article we have defined homeworking as any working adult who has worked at home for at least one day in the week collected between 19 January and 30 January 2022. This article focuses on the population of working adults who have worked one or more days at home in the last week.
In the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey respondents were asked: "In the past seven days, have you worked from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?" This question was asked to anyone who is either a current employee, is self-employed, has done any casual work for payment or anyone who has done any unpaid or voluntary work in the last week.
The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) is an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey used to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on British society.
The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) collects information on the measures that governments have taken to tackle COVID-19 and provides a stringency index that quantifies the strictness of policies. The stringency index is calculated using 9 indicators, 8 containment indicators and 1 health policy indicator.
Is an experimental real time indicator for monitoring UK spending using debit and credit cards both in-store and online. They track the daily Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) payments made by credit and debit card payment processors to around 100 major UK retail corporates, based on data supplied by the Bank of England.
Google community mobility reports aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19. The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.
8. Data sources and quality
This release contains data and indicators from a module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on British society.
The survey results are weighted to be a nationally representative sample for Great Britain (based on June 2021 population estimates). Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information .
In the period between 19 to 30 January 2022 we sampled 4,496 households. These were randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample contained 3,441 individuals, representing a 77% response rate.
The set of results presented in this article are based on 670 individual respondents who have identified themselves as having worked from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This release also contains faster indicator data on UK debit and credit card spending which provides insights into economic activity using close-to-real-time big data, administrative data sources, rapid response surveys or Experimental Statistics, which represent useful economic and social concepts.
9. Related links
Which jobs can be done from home? Article | 21 July 2020 During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, government advice has said people in the UK should work from home if possible. This is easier for some workers than others, and jobs that pay more are more likely to be done remotely.
Business and individual attitudes towards the future of homeworking, UK Article | 14 June 2021 Analysis of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on office working and of business and individual attitudes to future working practices.
Homeworking hours, rewards and opportunities in the UK: 2011 to 2020 Article | 19 April 2021 Working from home in the UK between 2011 and 2020, including the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Looking at indicators of productivity and work success such as pay, hours worked, bonuses, promotions and more, with industry, region and demographic breakdowns.
COVID-19 restrictions cut household emissions Article | 21 September 2021 With more people staying at home last year, household greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 10%. Could the shift to homeworking see lower emissions in the longer term?
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As we learn to live safely with coronavirus (COVID-19), there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others. These actions will also help to reduce the spread of other respiratory infection, such as flu, which can spread easily and may cause serious illness in some people.
Who this information is for
The following information is for employers, workforce managers (of both paid staff and volunteers) and people who are managing a workplace or organisation. This information will help you to understand how to reduce the spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19 and flu in the workplace. This is especially important if there are people in the workplace whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
While there is no longer a requirement for all employers to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their statutory health and safety risk assessments, it is important that as a business, organisation or an employer you continue to comply with your legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment and equality duties.
Know which symptoms to look out for
Respiratory infections can spread easily between people. It is important for staff and employers to be aware of symptoms so they can take actions to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to other people.
The symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections are very similar so it is not possible to tell if you have COVID-19, flu or another infection based on symptoms alone. Most people with COVID-19 will have a relatively mild illness, especially if they have been vaccinated.
Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections include:
- continuous cough
- high temperature, fever or chills
- loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
- shortness of breath
- unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
- muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
- not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
- headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
- sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
- diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick
Some people may continue to have a cough or feel tired after other symptoms have improved, but this does not mean that they are still infectious. You can find information about these symptoms on the NHS website .
What to do if a member of staff has symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19
If a member of staff is unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, they should follow the guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection such as COVID-19 .
Employers, in accordance with their legal obligations, may wish to consider how best to support and enable their workforce to follow this guidance as far as possible.
Actions to reduce the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19
Encourage and enable vaccination.
Vaccinations are very effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19, flu and other diseases. Employers, in accordance with their existing legal obligations, may wish to consider how best to support and enable staff who wish to be vaccinated to get their vaccines when offered them. There is a COVID-19 vaccination guide for employers which contains information on actions employers can take to enable staff vaccination. There is also guidance available on the vaccines that are available through the NHS .
Let fresh air in
Bringing in fresh air to occupied spaces can help to reduce the concentration of respiratory particles, lowering the risk of airborne transmission of respiratory viruses.
The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 and other respiratory infections can be higher in certain places and when doing certain activities. When someone with an infection breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release respiratory particles which can contain the virus. These particles can come into contact with the eyes, nose or mouth or can be breathed in by another person. These virus-containing particles can also land on surfaces and the virus can be passed from person to person via touch. In general, the risk of catching or passing on a respiratory infection is highest when in close contact with someone who is infected.
It is also possible to pass on a respiratory infection between people who do not have close contact, especially if they are in a crowded and/or poorly ventilated space where smaller virus particles can stay suspended in the air for some time and where there are more people who might be infectious. The risk of airborne transmission is increased when occupants in a space are participating in energetic activity, such as exercising, shouting, singing or talking loudly.
The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance on how to assess and improve ventilation in line with health and safety requirements under Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Detailed COVID-19 specific guidance for workplaces and public buildings is provided by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers ( CIBSE ) for those who wish to put additional measures in place.
Maintain a clean workplace
Keeping workplaces clean reduces the risk of infection and can reduce sickness in a workforce. It’s especially important to clean surfaces that people touch a lot.
Staff can be supported to maintain a clean working environment by providing them with cleaning products, soap and hot water, and/or sanitiser.
Outbreaks in the workplace
There is no requirement to report workplace outbreaks of respiratory infections to your local public health team. However, if you experience high levels of people with respiratory symptoms in your workplace the actions detailed above here will help to reduce the spread, so they should be promoted and applied more rigorously.
Management of members of staff who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19
Some workers are at a greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, for example people who have a weakened immune system.
There is specific guidance for people whose immune system means that they are at higher risk , because they have a reduced ability to fight infections, such as COVID-19. Employers may wish to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
The requirement for every employer to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their health and safety risk assessment has been removed . Employers may choose to continue to cover COVID-19 in their risk assessments. Employers that specifically work with COVID-19, such as laboratories, must continue to undertake a risk assessment that considers COVID-19.
Employers should continue to comply with the requirements for cleaning, ventilation and welfare facilities in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 or the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 to control occupational health and safety risks.
Employers have a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters. The Health and Safety Executive has guidance on how to keep people safe and healthy at work .
Reducing spread of respiratory infections and COVID-19 at work (easy read)
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Added easy read.
Added note to clarify that the Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance is no longer available.
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Home sweet home: working from home and employee performance during the covid-19 pandemic in the uk.
This paper sheds a positive light on the WFH performance of the employed in the UK.
Increases in WFH frequency are associated with higher hourly productivity.
The WFH-productivity relationship is weaker for parents with increased homeschooling needs.
Employees’ recent WFH experience encouraged their desire to undertake WFH in the future.
In 2020, many governments responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging employees to work from home (WFH). Analyzing representative data from the UK, we find that the pandemic-led increases in WFH frequency are associated with a higher self-perceived hourly productivity among employed respondents. Interestingly, changes in WFH frequency are unrelated to the respondents’ weekly working hours and weekly wages during the same period. While the WFH-productivity association is more substantial in non-lockdown months, it is inexistent during the months with strict lockdowns, indicating that lockdown measures inhibited the baseline association. The WFH-productivity association is weaker among parents with increased homeschooling needs due to school closures implemented during lockdowns. In addition, the effect heterogeneity analysis identifies the role of crucial job-related characteristics in the baseline association. Finally, looking at the future of WFH, we show that employees’ recent WFH experiences and subsequent changes in hourly productivity are intimately associated with their desires to WFH in the future.
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7 simple tips to tackle working from home
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has meant big life changes for us all, including adjusting to new ways of working. While some of us have returned to our normal workplace, many are still working from home or going through a phased return.
Working from home does have perks that some of us enjoy (bye bye commute!), but for many among us, changes like these have been challenging too.
Feeling stress, lack of motivation, anxiety and uncertainty is completely normal. Alongside this, many of us might be worried about future job prospects or the best way to juggle work with our personal and family life.
These simple tips can help you feel more productive and motivated, and take care of your mental health while working from home.
1. Set and stick to a routine
Without steady schedules, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred and be stressful to get right.
Follow your normal sleep and work patterns if you can, and stay consistent.
Get up at the same time, eat breakfast and get out of your pyjamas. Try scheduling in your "commute time" and spend it exercising, reading or listening to music before logging in.
Most importantly, when your workday stops, stop working. Shut down, stop checking emails and focus on your home life. And at the end of the day, try to get to bed at your usual time.
2. Make a dedicated workspace
If you can, find a quiet space away from people and distractions like the TV (or the kitchen, when you feel snacky).
Get everything you need in one place, before you start work – chargers, pens, paper and anything else – and shut the door if you can. Even in a small or shared space, try to designate an area for work.
Lastly, get comfortable. While it might be tempting to sit on the sofa, it's much better to sit at a desk or table. Use the NHS guidelines to set up your workspace correctly, as much as you possibly can.
If you do not have office furniture like an adjustable chair, try using things like cushions to support you in your chair, or a box as a footrest.
3. Give yourself a break
Making time for breaks is important to help manage feelings of stress.
Try to take lunch and regular screen breaks, and give yourself time to concentrate on something else so you feel more focused when you return. Even just 5 to 10 minutes of short breaks each hour can really help your productivity too.
If possible, spend time outdoors when you can. Regular time in green space is great for your mental health.
Set a time to go for a walk, run or bike ride for some fresh air, or a coffee.
4. Stay connected
While working from home has its benefits, you may also feel more isolated. But there are lots of ways to stay in touch with those who matter – boosting their mental wellbeing as well as our own.
In and out of work, human interaction matters so schedule video calls and pick up the phone instead of emailing. If you're struggling with working at home, speak to your colleagues or manager about your concerns.
And remember, your colleagues probably feel the same as you. Ask how they're doing and whether there are ways you can support each other.
Make time to socialise virtually – schedule in a digital coffee break or Friday online get-together.
5. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries with other members of your household is key to mental wellbeing while working at home.
You can be more flexible when working from home, so enjoy it. But it can also be difficult if there are other distractions to deal with, like children at home, who may think you are on holiday and want to spend time with you.
Have a discussion about your needs, especially with family. Remind them that you still have work to do and need quiet time to do it, and share your schedule.
Similarly, set boundaries with work. It's easier to stay logged on when your home is your office, but try to switch off when the work day is over, and enjoy time with family at home.
6. Think longer term
You may be continuing to work from home for a while, so think about ways you could improve how you work while at home. If you have a room that's warmer or has a window that lets in a lot of light, could you work there instead?
Try to explore how you work with others. Are there different ways to talk online or new software you could use?
7. Be kind to yourself
Remember, this is an unusual situation and things will not feel normal.
Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the circumstances, and relax when your work is done.
Further support and advice
If you feel low or are struggling with feelings of isolation, there is support and advice available. Find out more in our tips if you are worried about COVID-19 .
For more advice on how to look after your own mental health and supporting colleagues while working from home, visit Mental Health at Work .
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