Labour Research April 2021


Home working must be optional

While many workers have found the homeworking experience to be positive, significant numbers have experienced work intensification and stress over the past year, finds a survey of over 3,000 workers by the Scottish TUC (STUC).

The STUC last month released preliminary findings of the COVID-19 and working from home survey undertaken by Strathclyde and Manchester universities.

The study reveals a very mixed picture, with winners and losers over the past year. There are widely differing views about more permanent working from home (WFH) arrangements post-pandemic.

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said experiences of WFH and attitudes toward future homeworking are very varied, and she warned against blanket changes to work arrangements.

“A key conclusion is that many workers are positive about some degree of future home working, but this must be optional, flexible and only undertaken through negotiation,” she said.

Professor Phil Taylor from Strathclyde University said while there is a majority preference from workers of wanting to spend two days or less in the workplace, there is also compelling evidence that WFH is not desirable for a significant minority.

Reasons include inadequate domestic workstation arrangements, space constraints, compromised work-life balance, gendered experiences of domestic and household burdens and loneliness and isolation.