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Employee Engagement

Number crunching by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a strong correlation between remote working and its impact on pay and benefits, spelling bad news for home workers. The study of employees working from home between 2012-2017 and during 2020 confirms what many fear now about more recent Covid-19 (Coronavirus) induced mass home working – that while wages are higher, bonuses and promotional opportunities are lower.

According to the data, the average gross weekly pay of those who had recently worked from home was about 20% higher in 2020. However, when it looked at the statistics between 2012-17, it found people who mainly worked from home were 20% less likely to be promoted than all other workers (when controlling for other factors).

Despite revealing home workers tended to work for longer, the ONS statistics showed sickness absence was just 0.9% among working from home populations in 2020 compared with 2.2% for those who never worked from home.

In terms of bonuses, the outlook was worst for those that exclusively worked from home prior to 2020 – where employees were 38% less likely to have received a bonus compared to those who never did.

The likelihood of getting a bonus was increased with part-home working and part office working, where those who worked recently and occasionally from home were 42% and 28% more likely on average to receive a bonus, respectively, compared to those who never did.

The report said: “The gap in pay between exclusive home workers and those who never work from home has been decreasing over time, as home working has become a more widely accepted and encouraged form of flexible working.”

It added: “Conversely, people who did some home working (and some working away from home, such as in an office) fared better than those who either worked exclusively away from or at home. Those who recently or occasionally worked from home prior to the pandemic earnt on average 23.4% and 12.0% more than those who never worked from home, respectively.”

How the ‘new normal’ will impact these figures going forward is uncertain, concludes the figures, but ONS hinted that lack of bonus during 2020 were more likely closer linked to economic conditions than where people work.

What it also revealed was that London saw the highest proportion of home workers in Britain in 2020. Some 43% worked from home at some point in the past year, up from 31% in 2019.

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