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High earners and Londoners most likely to work from home

The number of Londoners working fully or partially from home far exceeds the national average, according to official figures.

More than half of Londoners (59%) now work fully or partially from home, outstripping the national average of 44%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The research also found the more a person earned, the more likely they were to work from home.

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While four in five (80%) of those earning £50,000 or more worked from home at least some of the time, three quarters (75%) of those earning less than £10,000 had to travel to work each day.

The prevalence of hybrid and home working among higher earners – generally professionals – those living in the South East, and those educated to degree level, is all part of an overlapping picture, according to Steve Herbert, wellbeing and benefits director at insurance advisory firm Partners&.

He told HR magazine: “The geography point is perfectly understandable, as those demographic groupings mentioned above tend to be over-represented in a region with many clerical jobs, most notably in central London. 

“Whilst communication is still an essential element of such jobs, the need for physical interaction in such roles is much less prevalent. 

“It follows that if you can work effectively using technology at home, why would you want to spend several hours each day travelling on packed commuter networks getting into central London?”

Working from home was a much more unlikely prospect for younger workers, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of 16-24 year-olds saying they had to travel to work.

And while 25-54 year olds tended to have the highest rates of hybrid working at more than 30%, the over-65s emerged as the only group where fewer people worked in a hybrid style than worked fully from home.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of over-65s worked fully from home, compared with the 17% that had adopted a hybrid working pattern. 

Kim Chaplain, specialist advisor for work at non-profit the Centre for Ageing Better, told HR that giving older workers the ability to choose their working patterns can be a lifeline for both workers and businesses.

She said: “For older workers with caring responsibilities, a long-term health condition or disability or who are seeking a different work/life balance, flexibility in their working arrangements can be the difference between staying in work or becoming economically inactive.” 

She added: “One of the keys to creating attractive working conditions is for employers to ensure flexibility for their employees.

“Having a positive approach around flexibility can also encourage older workers to be open with employers about what flexibility they might need to continue to perform in their role.”