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Publication Title | Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well-being and work-life balance

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18.0% 16.0% 14.0% 12.0% 10.0%
8.0% 6.0% 4.0% 2.0% 0.0%
Mainly Working Remotely
Mainly or Partly Working Remotely
Figure 1: Trends in remote working, UK, 1981–2015: Labour Force Survey estimates Note: Estimates taken from the spring quarter of each LFS and the annual LFS in the case of 1981. Results are weighted according to population estimates and the sample is those aged 20–59 who are in paid work in the UK.
Source: spring quarter Labour Force Surveys, 1981–2015.
working in a fixed location in a series of linear regressions. These regressions also control for the factors used in the trend analysis, thereby revealing ceteris paribus the associational consequences remote working has for work effort, well-being and work-life balance.
Assessing the growth of remote working
The LFS analysis replicates the findings reported earlier in that they show remote working growing among 20–59 year olds who are in work. The proportion working at least one day a week away from the conventional workplace grew by almost four per- centage points from 13.3 per cent in 1997 to 17.1 per cent in 2014. Other LFS evidence suggests it grew much earlier. In 1981, for example the proportion mainly working remotely stood at 7.0 per cent, but by 2015 it had increased by more than five percent- age points to 12.3 per cent (see Figure 1).
Disaggregating the LFS figures suggests that remote working has increased in all but factory-based work where machine operation and/or labouring is required (see Figure 2a, b). In contrast, the prevalence of remote working among ‘high skill’ and ‘middle skill’ workers—defined here according to occupation—has grown substan- tially with a five percentage point increase in the proportion of ‘high skilled’ job hold- ers working remotely for at least one day a week between 1997 and 2014. However, the growth pattern is broadly comparable across the gender divide (see Figure 3a, b). Similarly, the impact of the economic cycle is not evident in these descriptive data.
The results from SES further corroborate the argument that the conventional work- place is not the sole place of work for a sizeable minority in Britain. Around a third (33.6 per cent) of workers in 2012 reported that they mainly worked outside ‘a single
Growth and consequences of remote working 7 published by Brian Towers (BRITOW) and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
© 2017 The Authors
New Technology, Work and Employment
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Percentage of remote workers in the British employed labour force

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