Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The home working revolution continues

The home working revolution continues

Labour Force Survey shows continued rise through decade

A new analysis of data from the UK Labour Force Survey shows a continued rise in the number of people working mainly from home*.
At the end of 2009, 12.8% of the workforce (3.7 million people) worked mainly at or from home. This is a 21% increase since 2001.
The region with the highest level of homeworking is the South West, at 15.6%, followed by the South East (15.2%) and the East of England (14%).
The lowest levels are in Scotland (9.8%), North East of England (10.1%) and the North West and Northern Ireland (11%).

The link with self-employment

Despite the increasing numbers of companies offering their employees the chance to work from home, around two-thirds of homeworkers are self-employed.  This is probably part of the explanation of the difference between regions, with areas that have lower levels of self-employment likely also to have less homeworking.
Homeworking is more prevalent in rural areas in the UK. At the end of 2009, 18.88% of the rural workforce was working at/from home, compared to 11.24% of
the urban workforce. The proportion of rural workers who are self-employed homeworkers is 12.24%, almost double the urban figure of 6.75%. At least two-thirds of rural homeworkers are self-employed. 
London is the main exception to this rule, where 13.6% of the workforce are homeworkers.  In London, some 16.3% of the workforce are self-employed.
Between 2001 and 2009, the number of home-based businesses (self-employed and mainly working from home) rose by 22% (2.3 million people in 2009).

What about employees?

The figure for self-employment excludes those who run limited companies from home. Many previously self-employed people have chosen to run their businesses as registered companies in the last ten years. A study on freelancing in 2009 for the Professional Contractors Group by Kingston University found that the number of freelancers (self-employed, plus directors of limited companies with no employees, plus freelancers working under a PAYE umbrella company) was around 4 million people, and grew 20% between 1998 and 2008 (Kitching & Smallbone, 2009).
Around 5% of employees in the workforce work mainly from home.  And this includes a proportion of those who are freelancers (etc) who have set themselves up as a company.
However, the number of employees who work part of the time from home is now at around the 20% mark.  We expect this to be an area of substantial future growth as more employees work part-time from home, and some who now work part-time increase the number of days they spend away from the office

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