Living longer: impact of working from home on older workers

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Living longer: impact of working from home on older workers

25 August 2021

Today the Ageing Analysis team in the ONS Centre for Ageing and Demography have released Living longer: impact of working from home on older workers 

Main points

  • Early exit of older workers from the UK labour market, between the age of 50 years and prior to State Pension age (SPA), can negatively impact an individual's future financial security and is also detrimental to the wider economy.
  • Previous research has shown that flexible working is a factor in enabling older workers to remain in the labour market for longer; in June and July 2020, older workers working entirely from home were more likely to say they were planning to retire later compared with those not working from home.
  • The proportion of older workers who are planning to work from home following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is higher than the proportion who worked from home prior to the pandemic, suggesting any benefit may persist.
  • Characteristics of those who are most likely to exit the labour market early and older workers who did not switch to working from home during the pandemic were similar; they tend to have poorer health, lower well-being, live in deprived areas and have lower or no qualifications.
  • Working from home has not been an option for all; while it may help some older workers stay in the labour market for longer it may also entrench existing inequalities.
Rich Pereira

Rich Pereira is the head of the Centre for Ageing and Demography. You can follow Rich on Twitter for the latest in population statistics news: @RichPereira_ONS.

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