More Fifers working from home – and working longer

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Around three in 10 people in Fife worked from home at some point last year, new figures suggest.

The impact of lockdown has been responsible for the rise - but the TUC is now warning the trend could lead to a new "class divide" across the country.

Office for National Statistics data estimates that 29% of the 166,873 employed people aged 16 and over in Fife worked from home at some stage in 2020.

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This was up from 21% in 2019, but below the UK average average of 37% last year – though rates differed significantly.

We work more overtime when we are home basedWe work more overtime when we are home based
We work more overtime when we are home based

The figures are based on the ONS's annual population survey.

Across the UK, 26% of people worked at home at some point in the week they were surveyed – more than double that of 2019.

The TUC says this trend could lead to a new “class divide”, as those who have been able to work from home will find it easier to achieve more flexible working in the future.

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Frances O’Grady, general secretary, added: “It’s likely that many workers will want to spend more time working from home than before, and it’s vital that employers have positive and constructive discussions with staff and unions about how to make this work.

“A sole focus on home working rights would create new inequalities for those who cannot easily work from home.”She urged firms to consult with workers about a wider return to work as restrictions are eased..

People working in information and communication roles were the most likely to have avoided the office last year, with 69% saying they had worked at home.

Accommodation and food service employees were the least likely to home work, at just 11%.

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However, separate ONS statistics show that people working from home last year were doing six hours of overtime per week on average – compared to four hours for those who had to travel to their jobs.

Work Wise UK, a campaign group seeking more progressive employment practices, said the way companies work may change as the UK emerges from lockdown.

Chief executive Phil Flaxton said: “Working people need a say on what works for them and what doesn’t.

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