WFH still has a long way to go before mass take-up TBH

workingThe rise of working from home might have divided opinion, with some insisting it is more productive and others claiming workers are simply skiving, but it seems the phenomenon still has a long way to go before mass take-up, despite the Covid pandemic.

New research by the Automobile Association analysed job postings to understand the proportion of total job opportunities which are remote positions by location, sector and the seniority of a role.

It found that, while marketing is the sector that offers the most remote work opportunities, only 4.7% of companies are offering these roles, so it is hardly setting the world alight.

Further industries equipped for office-free jobs include finance (4.3% of jobs), business roles (3%) and IT roles (also 3%), with the nature of these industries allowing employees to collaborate remotely, utilising readily available tools.

When it comes to regional differences, Scotland proves to be the best place to look for remote job opportunities with 3.03% of jobs in Edinburgh available remotely, while in Glasgow it stands at 2.88%.

London came in fifth with 2.14% of all job postings offering remote work after Bristol and Cardiff at 2.20% and 2.48% respectively.

At the other end of the scale, jobs in Liverpool are most likely to request employees to come into work, with only 1.19% of vacancies being remote opportunities. The city was followed by Birmingham and Sheffield at 1.31% and 1.36% respectively, perhaps due to the prevalence of blue collar jobs in the cities.

Unsurprisingly, jobs where the rate of remote work was lower were more focused on production tasks, with only 0.8% of manufacturing roles being ones available outside the workplace, and 0.9% of construction positions. Employees are unable to take their work home in these industries due to the nature of them being site based.

However, it is seniority which has the greatest impact on whether a role will be available remotely or not. Just 1% of internships and entry-level positions are offered as remote opportunities, while 6.1% of mid-to-senior-level positions can be done without commuting in – over 3% higher than the average across all seniorities. This highlights the problem of potential talent being restricted from applying and joining the company.

In addition to the roles themselves, the study included a survey of working professionals in the UK to see how people feel about working from home.

Of those surveyed, two thirds said they were currently working from home five days a week, while a fifth (20%) do so three to four days and only 16% work from home one to two days.

Seven out of 10 (70%) of respondents said they enjoyed working from home, and only 16% said that they actively disliked it. When it comes to returning to the office, the majority favoured a split between office and home working, with a third saying they would want to work from home one to two days a week.

Despite the changes employees have had to make to adapt their living arrangement in order to accommodate home working, more than a third (35%) said they felt very supported by their employers during lockdown. Nearly half said they felt supported by the flexible working hours offered, but 12% didn’t feel supported when it came to work equipment being provided.

The biggest benefit of working from home, cited by 29% of respondents, was the lack of a commute, while 18% liked the lack of costs involved in staying at home, and just under 12% said they liked the flexible working hours.

Those working from home have had to adapt their surroundings to make sure they are suitable for both living and working.

AA insurance spokesman Jack Cousens said: “While the office environment is unlikely to return as we know it for a while yet, it’s encouraging to see that for most people who have been working from home it has, on the whole, been an enjoyable experience.

“It’s clear that there’s demand for flexibility and the option to continue working from home, but for many reasons, there are some industries that can’t accommodate this such as construction or agriculture. For those that can, however, we’d expect to see the number of remote positions advertised continue to grow as we settle in to this new normal.

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