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Why are more people working from home?

The recent extension to all employees of the right to request flexible working can be seen as the latest development in a much larger change in workplace dynamics that is redrawing the traditional boundaries between home and work.

Nearly one in seven UK workers now works from home for at least half of their working time. That's 4.2 million people - the highest rate since comparable records began in 1998, when there were around 2.9 million homeworkers.

It's easier than ever for employees to ask for work flexibility, but changes to employment law are only a part of the story.

New technology has enabled many roles to be performed out of the office with little compromise to quality of interaction or productivity, giving employers opportunities to cut overheads, reduce office space and find reductions in business rates, rents and utility bills.

The rising cost of commuting may also have encouraged workers to find ways of staying at home to work. Similar pressures surrounding the costs of childcare or caring for elderly or infirm relatives, may also be alleviated by homeworking.

As homeworking becomes more established, more employers are reporting the positives, such as improved staff motivation, engagement, and retention. Homeworkers say they have a better work-life balance, improved job satisfaction, and better productivity.

Acas publications and services

Acas has published pdf  Homeworking - a guide for employers and employees [263kb], which outlines the employment rights and relations issues involved.

pdf  The right to request flexible working: an Acas guide [177kb] is good practice guidance designed to employers and employees handle the statutory right to request flexible working. It's a companion guide to the Acas statutory code of practice.

Acas also offers practical training courses on Flexible working, including on how to handle requests in a reasonable manner.

For free, impartial advice on flexible working, call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.


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We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.

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