London-based employees most likely to work from home, ONS finds

A new survey suggests remote work doubled during the pandemic, but not everywhere

Londoners were more likely to work from home during the pandemic than those living elsewhere in the country, according to an official snapshot.

An annual population survey conducted by the National Office of Statistics (ONS) found that working from home doubled in 2020, but it still remained an overall minority across the whole of the UK.

Around a quarter of people (25.9%) worked from home at some point over the year, compared with just 12.4% in 2019. But there was a concentration of remote workers in London (46.4%) that actually offset the figures for the whole country, with rural and northern towns having considerably fewer remote workers - below 14% in Burnely and Middlesbrough, for instance.

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"The ONS figures confirm what we already know, that highly productive, digitally savvy jobs are concentrated in London and the South East," said teckUK's head of policy, Neil Ross. 

"We know as well that digital adoption, such as the uptake of home working technologies can lead to increased productivity and business performance. To prevent the pandemic from compounding the existing regional inequalities we know about we need to double down on our ambition to improve digital skills across the UK as well as incentivising business adoption of digital tech."

Additionally, occupation also played a crucial role in the likelihood of remote working. The highest rates of people that said they had worked from home were in the communication and information (59%) and financial services (56%) sectors. The lowest numbers were in the retail and transport sectors (roughly 11% each).

It also appears that the more senior the role, the more likely people were to work from home. For example, 39% of managers, directors and senior officials and 40% of those in professional occupations said they had worked from home, compared to just 11% for those in sales and customer services and 7% for care and leisure workers. 

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