Working from home: the London areas where more people are embracing the non-traditional nine-to-five

Up to one in four people in some London boroughs has given up the traditional nine-to-five in favour of working from home, according to new research.

Across the UK there are more than four million people working from home, or 14 per cent of the working population, according to the study by insurance company Aviva. But in sections of London the number of flexible workers leaps to 25 per cent.

The capital’s home working hotspot is Kensington & Chelsea where 25 per cent of workers are based at home. Camden, Richmond upon Thames, Westminster, and Barnet complete the top five, with one in five residents working flexibly.

Despite its reputation as Britain’s start-up capital, east Londoners are the least likely to work from home. Just 7.6 per cent of Newham’s workers avoid rush-hour according to the report, which is based on Government data.

Home working is also a relative rarity across Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and Barking and Dagenham.

The concentration of home working in some of the capital’s more expensive boroughs suggests that the home working revolution is particularly popular among older, more established people who can afford to leave a conventional working life behind them – as well as those combining bringing up a family with running a business or working on a freelance basis.

The other hotspots are leafy, suburban areas. As well as Barnet and Enfield, locations like Merton and Havering have higher than average numbers of home workers.

These Zone 4-and-beyond locations are likely to attract more home workers because buyers can get more space for their money to allow for home offices, while the relatively long journey to Zone 1 is not as big a drawback as it would be for a daily commuter.

Meanwhile, in well-connected regeneration zones such as Newham, where the vast majority of new property stock is aimed squarely at the young professional market, it is possible that the relatively youthful demographic is not yet ready to strike out on their own.

Home working has grown hugely in popularity over the past decade.

According to the Flexible Job Index, published by flexible working specialist Timewise, almost 87 per cent of employees would like to work from home.

And the good news is that jobs paying £60,000 a year or more are three times more likely to offer flexible working options than they did in 2016.

“Flexible working and home-working options are now part and parcel of many people’s lives,” said Adam Beckett, product director for Aviva UK General Insurance. “Advances in technology mean many individuals can work remotely in a whole host of careers, from web design to tutoring.”

The slow death of the nine-to-five culture is having a knock-on effect on London’s high streets, where former commuter dormitories are now busy all day long and cafés do a roaring trade in artisanal coffees for home workers armed with laptops and seeking inspiration.

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