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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Teleworking soars in the UK
Man and computer
More people are taking their work home
More than two million people in the UK rely on phones and computers to work at least one day a week at home, new research suggests.

The figure, drawn from data collected in spring last year, is an increase of more than two thirds on comparable figures from 1997. They now make up just over 7% of the UK workforce.

Of the 2.2 million teleworkers the government's Office for National Statistics identifies, 1.8 million rely on computers and phones to such an extent that they cannot do their job at all without them.

Nearly half the latter, or 43%, were self-employed, a group which constitutes only 11% of the workforce at large.

But 55% of the survey's sample are in employment, a proportion which has shot up over the four years of the survey.

The trend would seem to indicate rising numbers of people whose burden is such that they have to take work home at the weekend.

In other words, the progress of teleworking into the mainstream could well be contributing into the intrusion of work into employees' personal lives.

Mostly men

Still, the survey indicates a steady shift towards more flexible habits of work, a trend which is likely to become more pronounced in the years ahead.

It also highlights gender differences in teleworking.

Two thirds, or 67%, of the teleworkers identified in the survey were men, against 53% of the workforce as a whole.

This, it suggests, is because men still predominate in jobs - such as senior management, the professions and skilled trades - where teleworking is either more accepted or more necessary.

In the middle

The statistics suggest that the situation in the UK is roughly halfway up the scale as far as European countries are concerned.

European Union figures indicate that in Finland, over 16% of the workforce qualifies as a teleworker, with more than half working at least one full day a week.

Sweden and the Netherlands are not far behind.

Less than 3% of the workforce in France and Spain, on the other hand, indulge in teleworking, and very barely a quarter of these take their work home from the office.


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Teleworking
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See also:

04 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
26 Jul 01 | Business
18 Jan 01 | Business
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