New research shows how the shift to homeworking will impact the lowest earners in society

Low-paid workers overwhelmingly benefit from homeworking but are more likely to face higher financial costs.

Glasses Man Working RESIZED

Stonewater commissioned Demos to identify the barriers and challenges faced by low-paid workers in being able to work from home – including enabling more low-paid workers to experience the benefits of doing so. With the report’s publication titled 'Inside Jobs: The experience of low-paid homeworkers in Britain today.'

Stonewater hope to see more being done to tackle the fact that benefits are not experienced equally – especially hybrid workers who may not see the same benefits as those who work from home all of the time.

On average, low-paid homeworkers report their costs increasing by £10 per month (£122 per year) due to homeworking, while high-paid homeworkers report saving £63 per month (£758 per year). However, the situation appears to be worse for some hybrid workers (those who work from home only some of the time): 46% of low-paid hybrid workers are seeing their costs increase. On average, low-paid hybrid workers report spending £39 more per month (£468 per year) due to working from home.

With winter coming and energy bills rising, the fact that 60% of homeworkers say they are spending more on gas and electricity than they would have if they were working in an office suggests that without intervention from government and employers many low-paid homeworkers will face increasing financial pressure in the coming months.

The report sets out several recommendations to government and employers to ensure that low-paid homeworkers do not incur additional costs – including that employers should support their employees with additional energy, internet or equipment costs incurred by having to work from home.

Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Stonewater, said:

“We recognise that the way we work has shifted for many and it is unlikely that we will ever go back. As a housing association, we want to make sure that we are as responsive as we can be to the future needs of our customers, ensuring the homes we provide are places where customers can thrive.

“New ways of working present a significant opportunity with where you live becoming less of a factor about the type of work you can access. We are in a unique position to examine the impact of new ways of working, speaking directly to colleagues and customers up and down the country, who may be adjusting to significant changes in the way they work or possibly facing barriers in accessing new opportunities.

“While the shift to homeworking presents many possibilities it also presents challenges, particularly for low-paid employees who might face increased costs and/or lack the provision, connectivity and space to work from home. It is also the case that many low-paid workers will not be able to work from home at the moment. We hope that the recommendations in this report will help to overcome these challenges, making sure everyone has the same opportunity to thrive as we adjust to a new normal."