Living longer: impact of working from home on older workers

The shift towards working from home seen during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may help enable older workers to remain in the labour market for longer, a new government report has found.

Main points of the report

  • 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 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.

Read the full report here

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