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The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has brought about a step-change in levels of and employer attitudes towards working from home. Permanent long-term change is likely.
The TUC has always strongly supported policies that embrace home working for those who would like to work this way - and whose home conditions make this possible. Home working can bring many benefits, including better work-life balance and the re-claiming of wasted time that would otherwise be spent on a long commute.
However, the living conditions of many workers are not set up for home working. Many do not have access to the necessary extra space and equipment.
And young workers at the start of their careers, in particular, stand to lose out on all the vital social interaction and informal learning that goes on in a normal ‘office’ environment.
Finally, home-working can only be effective alongside good quality, affordable childcare. During the pandemic, women have taken on the brunt of childcare, with worrying evidence of stereotypically sexist assumptions by some employers as to which parent should be expected to take time off work for childcare and home educating.
Alarming statistics by Citizens Advice in their report, An unequal crisis, suggest that two in every five people with caring responsibilities (39%), either for children or vulnerable adults, faced redundancy in August 2020.