PAYE umbrella contractors used to spending varying proportions of their daily life working from home might be interested in a new study from the TUC, which suggests that the number of people working from home in the UK has fallen slightly.
At the start of 2010, 3.7 million worked chiefly from home. The number actually rose by a further ten thousand during the year but, in statistical context, it nonetheless reflects a small but perceptible drop, from 12.9 per cent of the workforce to 12.8 per cent.
Even though companies that allow their personnel to work from home usually find that it is a cost-efficient approach, saving money on office costs and allowing staff to manage their workloads more personally and effectively, the TUC believes that fewer workers are requesting home working arrangements due to anxieties over current economic conditions. Rising unemployment and greater job insecurity seem to be deterring people from seeking the home working option.
Work Wise UK’s chief executive, Phil Flaxton, sought to encourage more people to request flexible working arrangements, however, insisting that it was sensible to allow staff to work from home occasionally – it prevents the stress of commuting and allows workers to get on with their tasks without the everyday distractions of the office. Many contractors working through umbrella companies will undoubtedly be aware of these benefits already.
The Director of research at the Telework Association went further, claiming that flexible home working arrangements benefit both employees and employers and should be more actively promoted as good for business. His comments coincide with those of Work and Pensions Minister, Maria Miller, who recently said that flexible working arrangements should increasingly become the norm, not the exception.
Perhaps those numbers might just start to rise again.