Nine in 10 workers who have worked from home during lockdown would like to continue in some form, researchers say.
A report by academics at Cardiff and Southampton universities suggests the majority of people working from home are as productive, if not more.
Thousands of people were surveyed three times between April and June.
Homeworking has rocketed since the start of lockdown – rising from 6% of employees before the pandemic to 43% in April this year.
“Our analysis suggests there will be a major shift away from the traditional workplace, even when social distancing is no longer a requirement,” said Prof Alan Felstead, of Cardiff University.
Each survey questioned a representative sample of between 6,000 and 7,000 workers who had worked at least one hour in the week before the interview. It found:
- Almost 90% would like to continue working from home in some capacity, with almost half wanting to work at home often or all of the time
- More than 40% said they were able to get as much work done while working from home compared to six months earlier, when most were working outside of the home
- Almost 30% believed they got more work done at home, but 30% also said their productivity had fallen
- Those who spent all of their time working from home reported an increase in productivity
“What is particularly striking is that many of those who have worked at home during lockdown would like to continue to work in this way, even when social distancing rules do not require them to,” Prof Felstead added.
“These people are among the most productive, so preventing them from choosing how they work in the future does not make economic sense.”
The Understanding Society Covid-19 Study, which its authors claim is the first analysis of employee survey data focusing on homeworking, is published as the government prepares to encourage people back to the office.