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One in three homeworkers aged under 25 work from their bed

Written by: Emma Lunn
A report from Aviva found a growing number of workers are planning to set up designated rooms or workspaces at their homes – but a quarter of those forced to work at home due to the pandemic don’t have a suitable space to work.

The insurer’s How We Live report interviewed almost 1,400 UK workers who were homebased as a result of the pandemic.

It found a third (34%) of homeworkers currently use an office inside their property, while 43% are planning to do so in the future, suggesting people may be adapting rooms or building extensions.

The number of homeworkers operating from converted sheds and outbuildings is expected to increase in the future to 13%, compared with 10% currently.

Almost half (48%) of pandemic homeworkers found it less stressful than being based wholly at another location. They cited a range of benefits including the lack of commuting (57%), more time with family (29%) and not having to worry about what to wear (42%).

However, in contrast, one in five (19%) people said they found working from home more stressful. Many reasons given by those who didn’t enjoy homeworking highlighted the importance of having a suitable room or designated space in which to concentrate.

A quarter (27%) of people in this group said they didn’t have a suitable space to work. One in five (19%) were competing for space with other people, while a similar number (18%) said it was too noisy at home.

The report found many workers who have been forced to work at home due to the pandemic are making do from tables in rooms designed for another use (48%), sofas and armchairs (22%), and even beds (14%).

Almost a third (31%) of homeworkers aged under 25 work from their beds on some occasions.

ONS data shows that 46.6% of UK people in employment were doing some work at home in April 2020. Within this group, 86% were doing so as a result of the pandemic, equating to roughly 13 million workers.

Gareth Hemming, managing director of personal lines at Aviva, said: “Flexible working and homeworking practices have been around for some time, but they have really come into their own in the last year. Many employees report they have been less stressed and more productive as a result of working from home. They have had the flexibility to work around their personal lives and they have been trusted to work in a way which suits them.

“While homeworking is not the choice of every individual, we are likely to see more flexibility as a basic benchmark for the future, with many people working remotely, at least some of the time.”

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