Category Archives: Social

Co-Living: What will ‘home’ look like in the year 2030?


Ikea researches the concept of co-living in their One Shared House 2030 survey

When Ikea’s future living lab Space 10 teamed up with New York designers Anton & Irene to research the concept of co-living, they decided to set up an online form for people to fill in so they could state their preferences for a harmonious shared living space.

They describe this as a type of ‘playful research’, acknowledging that One Shared House 2030 isn’t a scientific survey, but as around 7,000 responses from over 150 countries were submitted, it produced enough material to provide some insight into the way we will live in the future.

Respondents were split 50/50 male/female, 85% were aged 18 to 39 years old, and most were either single or in childless relationships, and from Europe, North America and Asia.

They stated that, preferably, the occupants of a shared house would have equal ownership of the space, and the ideal housemates would be a diverse mix, but all clean, honest and considerate.

Respondents said that they were willing to share utilities, the internet, gardens and work-spaces.

However, privacy was the biggest concern for most, who said they would be unwilling to share bathrooms or bedrooms, and would prefer to have their groceries in the kitchen ring-fenced. They would also like to choose how their private spaces were furnished themselves.

For the majority, the appeal of co-living lay in the prospect of having a better social life, and respondents also said that they would like to live in tight-knit communities of four to 10 people.

This is interesting. Two broader trends that we have seen gathering momentum over recent years are single-occupancy living and multi-generational living. If, in fact, people would prefer to live in small communities, are the majority of people living by themselves doing so not through choice, but because circumstances or the lack of such communities have forced them to?

Futurist Will Higham told Trend-Monitor that he believed that one reason children are choosing to stay living in the multi-generational family home is to be part of a “small trust group”.

So is the multi-generational living template actually one that most people would like to recreate? Not exactly, it seems.

While respondents to the online survey stated that other people’s pets would be welcome in this shared community, other people’s small children and teenagers would not be.

They also said they would like to have control over the choice of new housemates joining the home – a luxury not afforded to families.

However, in both types of home the kitchen needs to be big enough to accommodate communal gatherings, and the numerous bathrooms need to be private spaces that provide respite from the busy home.

All this is vital information for architects and designers working on the living spaces of tomorrow. While co-living is a concept that solves many social problems, the loneliness of the single occupant being one of them, many shared spaces currently being built are designed to house hundreds of people.

With increased numbers, those all-important elements of community and privacy can end up getting lost.

People need a balance between ‘my space’, ‘your space’, and ‘our space’. Such findings indicate that we will always have great desire for control over our space and things.”

Lydia Choi-Johansson, Ikea Intelligence Specialist
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What Happened to the Future?


The latest exhibition at the Design Museum asks: ‘What happened to the future?’

Here at Trend-Monitor we often talk to futurists, innovators, architects and designers about what the home of the future will look like – but do they necessarily turn out to be right?

Here at Trend-Monitor we often talk to futurists, innovators, architects and designers about what the home of the future will look like – but do they necessarily turn out to be right? @DesignMuseum Click To Tweet

Sometimes it’s useful to look back and assess whether those predictions actually came true, and that’s what Home Futures: Living in Yesterday’s Tomorrow aims to do. It’s the latest exhibition currently on at the Design Museum, which is the result of a partnership with the IKEA Museum Almhult. Bringing together an array of avant-garde speculations in the form of around 150 objects and experiences, the exhibition asks: “Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”

There are various rare works on display, including original furniture from the Smithsons’ House of the Future (1956), original footage from the General Motors Kitchen of Tomorrow (1956), and an original model of Total Furnishing Unit by Joe Colombo (1972), which organisers say help to provide visitors with a thought-provoking view of yesterday’s tomorrow.

“Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”

The show is divided into six relevant themes, all of which reflect key trends that are influencing the way we live in our homes today. The first is Living Smart, which traces the modernist ideal of the ‘home as machine’ and juxtaposes it with our current view of the connected ‘smart home’. Illustrations by Heath Robinson depicting unlikely household gadgetry and contraptions are shown alongside a range of smart devices.

Living on the Move explores the 20th-century view of a simple, nomadic lifestyle, while Living Autonomously delves into the 1970s notion of self sufficiency. This looks at Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione, a 1974 design guide to assembling furniture from basic materials, and also features a newly commissioned modular furniture series by Brussels studio Open Structures.

Addressing the issue of housing shortages, Living with Less focuses on fully fitted home units and minimal solutions, and looks at Joe Colombo’s 1970s vision, alongside Gary Chang’s Hong Kong Transformer contemporary micro apartment with shifting walls. Domestic Arcadia looks at the home as a series of organic forms that evoke the natural landscape.

Living with Others examines the way in which we negotiate privacy in the home – something that is increasingly relevant in the face of the current rising number of multi-generational homes. This is also reflected in the ‘One Shared House 2030’ project by New York designers Anton & Irene in collaboration with the Ikea-funded ‘future living lab’, SPACE 10.

“We at Ikea have always been curious about innovative technology, inventing new techniques, materials and logistical solutions. Behind every single product lies years of research, experimentation and testing,” said Jutta Viheria, the Ikea Museum’s Exhibition and Communications Manager. “By partnering with the Design Museum on this exhibition, we are continuing our mission of collaborating with organisations that view the world from a different perspective, allowing us to gain new insights into this crazy old world of ours,” she explained.

How did the future look?

According to the Design Museum, radical thinkers and designers of the 20th century imagined our future homes as places where…

A global, invisible network would connect us all
Supersurface was a speculative proposal for a universal grid that would allow people to live without objects or the need to work, in a state of permanent nomadism.

We would work from anywhere we wanted
In 1969, years before laptops allowed for work on the go, Hans Hollein proposed a mobile office in the form of a transparent bubble for a nomadic lifestyle. It forecasted the conditions of work and life in an automated, networked world.

We would live surrounded by screens
Ugo La Pietra’s Casa Telematica (1983), or the Telematic House, imagined ways in which media and telecommunication will change the homes of the future

Home appliances would be smart and autonomous
The 1950s “Miracle Kitchen” of the future had its own Roomba (robotic hoover)

More people would live in cities, in smaller spaces
Joe Colombo designed a Total Furnishing Unit, which was a whole house in just 28 square meters.

Art and design would merge
An example of this is the iconic red lips sofa by Gufram

Bocca, Red Lip Sofa by Gufram

The exhibition at the Design Museum finishes on 24th March 2019.

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Wabi Sabi: The new consumer trend that celebrates imperfection


Forget Hygge – there’s a new social trend that’s increasingly making its presence felt in 2019 and this time we’ve imported it from Japan.

According to consumer and behavioural futurist Will Higham, wabi sabi is one of this year’s top emerging socio-cultural developments to watch, which could present a commercial opportunity for businesses.

The wabi-sabi approach has been integrated into Japanese culture for centuries. While in its current rendition, it has a distinctive ‘style’, like Hygge, it is more than just an interiors trend. It’s a recipe for a more mindful way of life that, in many ways, represents a backlash against some of the other social trends that we’re witnessing right now.

“We are living in a time of brain-hacking algorithms, pop-up propaganda and information everywhere,” says Beth Kempton in her book Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life. “From the moment we wake up, to the time we stumble into bed, we are fed messages about what we should look like, wear, eat and buy, how much we should be earning, who we should love and how we should parent.”

So as our daily lives pick up the pace, as technology careers ahead at breakneck speed, and as influencers constantly bombard us with images of envy-inspiring lifestyle perfection, can wabi sabi offer some kind of antidote?

“Wabi is about finding beauty in simplicity, and a spiritual richness and serenity in detaching from the material world,” explains Kempton. “Sabi is more concerned with the passage of time, with the way that all things grow and decay and how ageing alters the visual nature of those things. It’s less about what we see, and more about how we see.”

So why does this matter? Wabi sabi is being credited with helping to drive the latest trend for upcycling products – creatively decorating and reusing old or unwanted items – and it appears to be in tune with a more sustainable, and less throwaway, way of life. As single-use items become anathema to the current mood, and sustainability rises up the consumer list of priorities, there’s plenty for businesses to consider.

This has implications for everything from the way in which consumers and retailers tackle food waste, to a wider acceptance of the way the human body looks as it ages. It points to a shift in what consumers consider to be aspirational. But, when it comes down to it, is a mindset that enables us to embrace transience, imperfection, and everything that makes us different, being driven by the global megatrend of individualism?

According to consumer and behavioural futurist Will Higham @NextBigThingCo, wabi sabi is one of this year’s top emerging socio-cultural developments to watch, which could present a commercial opportunity for businesses. Click To Tweet

This being the case, how will consumers’ reactions to images presented to them as desirable by the mass media, and – crucially – the way in which businesses present information about their brands to their audiences evolve?

When it comes to marketing materials, the appetite for a less brash, more personalised approach is growing. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops.

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The Social Trends behind the Meteoric Rise of the Hot Tap


Recent research into kitchen purchasing trends by Trend-Monitor highlighted the growth in the hot tap market, with the research findings showing that 1 in 5 new kitchens installed over the past 2 years included a hot (boiling) water tap.

This is borne out by another recent kitchen trends survey, this time by Houzz , which found that 24% of the 3,156 UK homeowners they surveyed had either had a hot tap installed in 2017, or were planning to have one put in their kitchens in 2018.

Jeanette Ward, communications manager at Franke, puts the turning point in the popularity of the hot tap at about five or six years ago “when consumers switched on to their lifestyle-enhancing benefits”.

Franke Omni Contemporary 4 in 1 tap


I’m sure this had a lot to do with the popularity of TV shows such as Saturday Kitchen and The Great British Bake Off, which showed boiling water taps in use every week – Jeanette Ward, communications manager at Franke


InSinkErator HC2200 in Satin Black

Anne Kaarlela, InSinkErator’s marketing communications manager for Europe and Russia noticed a clear shift more recently than that. “InSinkErator has been marketing steaming hot water taps since 2007,” she says. “However, the launch of its 3N1 steaming hot water tap in 2015 has been exemplary with the company achieving double-digit growth year on year.

The evolution of the hot tap from delivering boiling water on its own, to delivering hot, cold and boiling water with three-in-one technology, has played a key part in its fortunes Click To Tweet


We’ve seen a real shift away from simply wanting instant boiling water and certainly our residential products with filtered chilled, or chilled and sparkling functions – as well as boiling – now represent over 50% of sales.  This definitely fits with the anti-plastic and resell mindset of so many consumers, who want to reduce plastic waste but still stay hydrated with great-tasting water – Russell Owens, marketing director at Zip Water UK

The latest models on the market now feature four-in-one technology and include filtered water too. “Filtration has a much greater prominence in people’s minds currently, following media coverage on the urgency to reduce single-use plastic and for overall health and wellbeing, including better hydration, so this has been an important development,” says Ward. She adds that the company’s Omni 4-in-1 model is currently its most popular range.

But things are moving quickly. Zip’s new ‘do it all’ tap – the HydroTap All-in-One Celsius Arc – combines hot and cold water with filtered boiling, chilled and also sparkling water, and Owens says the company is “really pleased” with how it has been received.

Zip brushed gold Hydro Tap All-in-One Celsius Arc


Technological advances against the backdrop of wider social trends have seen the hot tap come into its own. “The greater awareness of living with sustainability in mind has absolutely played its part in boosting this sort of product,” says Owens.  “Manufacturers have been quick to respond and many products include energy-saving technologies. We’ve incorporated a number of energy-saving settings on the Zip HydroTap, which help to maintain the temperature of stored water, saving money for the user and boosting the efficiency of the product,” he says.

Technological advances against the backdrop of wider social trends such as open plan living and entertaining at home have seen the hot tap come into its own as consumers seek out more functionality for their kitchen work-spaces. Click To Tweet

However, demands on hot tap products do not stop at functionality and manufacturers now offer a broad range of design styles and shapes to suit any kitchen scheme, including a spectrum of finishes such as brushed copper, gold, gunmetal, black, and stainless steel.

Kaarlela believes it is key to engage with the latest home interior trends to deliver successful products to the modern consumer, and Owens agrees. “We keep an eye on colour and kitchen trends to ensure our range caters for all tastes,” he says.

Ward adds: “From a design point of view, having a boiling water tap frees up the work surface space that would be taken up by a kettle, helping to achieve a streamlined look that has become much sought after for contemporary open-plan kitchen spaces.” She continues: “Consumers want the functionality of a boiling water tap, but also for it to have real design status in their kitchen.


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The DreamHouzz Pop Up Experience Taps into Key Social Trends


When Houzz UK opened the doors to its DreamHouzz pop-up retail experience in September, it was clear that the online platform for home renovation and design had tapped into some key social trends.

After surveying its community to assess what a ‘dream home’ really means to homeowners and renters, it gathered responses from 2,560 users, and then worked with nine interior design studios to create eight roomsets in a warehouse in Bermondsey.

When @houzzuk opened the doors to its DreamHouzz pop-up retail experience in September, it was clear that the online platform for home renovation and design had tapped into some key social trends. Click To Tweet

We take a look at the four roomsets that we think best show how our households are changing

The Renters Sanctuary

Dreamhouzz Renter’s Sanctuary

According to Office of National Statistics, there are 7.7million one-person households in the UK, with more female single households in older generations.  This roomset was designed by Sacha Berger of Honey Bee Interiors with a single forty-something woman in mind.

Berger says she had a clear vision of her ‘client’ – “She’s a journalist and loves nights in and enjoying her space,” she explained – and chose a muted palette to create a relaxed space to socialise in, to reflect how a professional woman might prefer to spend her spare time.

As it’s a room in a rented property, Berger selected freestanding pieces that can easily be packed up and moved from place to place. Trend-Monitor’s research confirms that today’s consumers have more transient lifestyles, and are choosing to rent rather than buy in order to maintain financial and social freedom.

The Millennial Flatshare

Dreamhouzz Millennial Flatshare

According to research by M&S Bank, a fifth of millennials do not believe they will ever be in a position to own their own home, and 60% of those aged 18 to 35 said they would consider taking out a mortgage as a group in order to get onto the property ladder.    The Millennial Flatshare space reflects this trend.  Created by Simone Gordon and Sophie van Winden of Owl Design, the space is designed for two friends in their thirties with a busy schedule.

The designers chose a colour scheme of burnt oranges, soft greens and pale pinks, along with long-lasting items of furniture made using traditional craft techniques. Recent research by AXA Insurance revealed that sustainability is increasingly a concern to people when it comes to creating living environments.

The Modern Family Pad 

Dreamhouzz Modern Family Pad

Research by the Royal Institute of British Architects has revealed that in the UK we are now living in the smallest houses in Western Europe. This small space accommodating a couple in their forties with a five-year-old child and family pet needed to be multi-functional and have as much storage as possible.

To add to the challenge, the ‘clients’ are said to enjoy cycling and yoga in their spare time. “We had to think of creative ways to optimise it without it feeling cluttered,” explained the designers from At Home with Hostmaker. “We’ve used the wall for bike storage and other gym equipment, and we’ve added in a space-saving shoe rack and shelving.” A designated play area gives the room extra flexibility.

The Dog Lovers’ Creative Quarters

Dreamhouzz Dog Lovers Creative Quarters

Trend-Monitor has established that as UK birth rates are falling, pet ownership is going up – consequently we now spend more on our pets than we do on our children.  This space reflects this trend; designed by Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio for a couple who love travel and fashion, and let their mini dachshund sleep on their bed. “The owners spend a lot of time in front of computer screens or on the phone, so it’s important their bedroom is a sanctuary,” said the designers. “Our favourite thing in the space is the wallpaper – a witty nod to the owners’ beloved animal companion,” they added. 


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The Size of an Average Kitchen in the UK


At Trend-Monitor we are often asked the size of an average kitchen in the UK.  We had an idea, but no concrete evidence, which is why we were really pleased to find this interesting piece of research by LABC Warranties which documents the changing average kitchen sizes across the decades.


The data experts at LABC Warranty wanted to settle an argument once and for all – are Britain’s houses really getting smaller?  To do this they turned to property sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla and analysed data on 10,000 houses built in each decade going all the way back to the 1930s.

And according their analysis – Britain’s houses really are getting smaller.

Why did they start in the 1930s?  Well, unfortunately there just isn’t enough data for houses built in the decades before 1930. Whether they have been knocked down to make way for new housing developments or turned into student accommodation, there simply weren’t 10,000 houses available to analyse.

So what did their analysis tell us about kitchen sizes?

Houses built in the 1930s had the smallest kitchens of any decade, with the average measuring just 12.27m2.

Average house built in the 1930s


In the 1940’s the average kitchen size grew by nearly 1.5m2   across the decade

Trend-Monitor-Average-Kitchen-Size 1940s
Average house built in the 1940s


In the 1950s, the average kitchen size grew by another 0.30m2

Average house build in the 1950s


In the 1960s, the average kitchen size grew again, this time by another 1.32m2

Average house built in the 1960s


Overall, Britain built the largest houses during the 1970s, however the average kitchen size within these houses started to shrink

Average house built in the 1970s


In the 1980s the average house size started to shrink and the kitchen size shrank even further

Average house built in the 1980s


In the 1990s Britain’s houses continued to get smaller and the kitchens lost another 0.25m2

Average house built in the 1990s


Again in the 2000s, Britain’s houses got even smaller, along with the average kitchen size

Average house built in the 2000s


Today, Britain’s new-build houses have never been so small. The LABC Warranty analysis of the first seven years of this decade shows continued regression.  Compared to the previous decade, homes built from 2010 onwards are over 4m2 smaller, and our kitchens are not much bigger than they were in the 1930’s – the decade of the smallest kitchen.

Current new built housing


Average Kitchen Sizes in Square Metres


All statistics that feature in this article have been collated using open data from property sites Rightmove and Zoopla. The study looked at 10,000 houses built in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and the current decade. Data was taken on individual rooms within a home. All statistics are calculated on average. 


Source:  Research by LABC Warranty

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What happens behind the closed bathroom door?


Why do we spend so long in the shower?  How often is a double-flush required?  How deep is the bath filled?  Is it hot water or cold water first?  How often is the toilet really cleaned?  Does face washing require the plug to be in or out?

What really goes on in the privacy of our bathrooms? 

In April we will be finding out ….

We have asked 50 UK householders to take part in a unique 7-day study into what happens behind the closed bathroom door, in order to get a real understanding of bathroom habits and behaviours,

The study, which is a collaboration between Trend-Monitor and The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA),  is in the format of an online interactive diary with two-way, real-time communication between the researchers and the participants.  This enables daily tasks to be set, further details requested, images uploaded, different workday and rest day behaviours to be captured, and much more.

Alongside the diary study, a quantitative survey will question 500 homeowners on their decision-making process when purchasing a new bathroom and evaluate their satisfaction levels after purchase.  Plus record their awareness of water regulations and legal compliance whilst making their purchases.

“This is the first time any organisation from our industry has questioned the consumer in so much detail about their bathrooms and how they use bathroom products,” said BMA CEO Yvonne Orgill.

“The results of the research will aid the BMA to talk with clarity and credibility when working with the government and other organisations on water issues.”

Jane Blakeborough, research director at Trend-Monitor comments “We have been wanting to run a study of this type for some time now and partnering with the BMA has meant that we have been able to work closely with bathroom manufacturers to understand what it is they really want to know about bathroom product usage in the home environment”

The results of both studies will be made available to BMA members and Trend-Monitor Insight Partners.

For more information, please contact, tel 0113 209 3288


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Ikea launches furniture range for pets

Ikea pet furniture range

Have you ever felt like your cat or dog wasn’t just a pet, but a member of the family?  You are not alone.

IKEA felt there was a gap in the market for reasonably priced, but nice-looking pet products and developed a pet product range.  The new LURVIG collection, which means “hairy” in Swedish, was launched in five countries — Japan, France, Canada, U.S and Portugal at the start of October.

Ikea pet furniture range

Created by pet loving designer, Inma Burmudez,  with support from veterinarians,  according to Ikea “the range covers all the bases of our shared life with pets indoors and out, so you and your pet can enjoy your home together“.

Ikea furniture for cats

Ikea furniture for dogs

Source:  Ikea 

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How much living space do we really need?

Mini Living Urban Cabin

As part of the London Design Week, a collaboration between the car brand Mini and architect Sam Jacob attempts to answer the question of how much living space we really need with the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin.

MINI created the Urban Cabin as part of its ongoing MINI Living project, which is exploring new forms of urban living.   Designed for a future when homes become a shared resource and with modern city living in mind, the Urban Cabin demonstrates how to maximise your living space on a small urban footprint, applying creativity and innovation to a limited space.   Although limitation can have a negative connotation when it forces us to do without the things we believe we need, the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin offsets this by showing that it is simply a matter of creatively exploring possibilities.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

At just 15 sqm, the Urban Cabin is a compact micro-house demonstrating clever alternatives to space-saving. Externally, the design is inspired by London’s rich history of geometric facades, emulating the surrounding architecture by reflecting them back with mirrored surfaces

Inside the imaginative space is a homage to British eccentricity and houses an innovative blend of areas for social gatherings alongside space to take stock and have moments of calm and privacy.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

Equipped with a shared kitchen and micro-library, the miniature space is intended to foster communal exchanges.  The kitchen for example has been created with London’s food markets in mind, aiming to bring their culture and diversity into the home, whilst the micro-library suggests the importance of preserving public spaces for people to read.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

White materials are predominantly used to create a light and airy feel, combined with modern touches.  And the whole space has been designed with versatility in mind, for example the table can spontaneously be moved outside to take advantage of warmer weather.

Mini Living Urban Cabin

Mini Living Urban Cabin

The Urban Cabin is the latest in a series of structures that MINI has built as part of MINI Living. The first was an installation at Milan design week in 2016, which also explored the idea of shared living spaces.

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The Rise of Home Workers

A desire for a better work-life balance, coupled with converging technologies and the digitisation of products has led to 4 million people leaving the office behind to work primarily from home, with a further 1.8 million of us wanting work from home if we could.


Working from home trend
Infographic produced by Sage


Trend-Monitor’s own research into kitchen purchase behaviour and the motivations behind the purchase of kitchen products found that over 40% of UK kitchens have to double up as a home office space.

According to Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at global job site Indeed, said: “Flexibility is high up the wishlist for employees of all ages – from new parents who need to juggle work with childcare, to older workers.

“But younger workers in particular see it as essential. Digital natives often expect to be able to harness the flexibility that technology provides, to enable them to work whenever and wherever suits them.”

In 2014 The Office of National Statistics investigated the characteristics of home workers.  Their key findings are as follows:-

  • Of the 30.2 million people in work in January to March 2014, 4.2 million were home workers, giving a home worker rate of 13.9% of those in work.  This is the highest rate since comparable records began in 1998.
  • The number of home workers has grown by 1.3 million and the rate by 2.8 percentage points since 1998
  • Home workers tend to work in higher skilled roles than the rest of the population and consequently earn on average a higher hourly wage.
  • Almost two-thirds of home workers were self-employed in 2014.
  • Using the home for work is most prevalent within the agriculture and construction industries.
  • Working from home is more prevalent among individuals who are older.
  • The South West was the region of Great Britain with the highest home working rate at 17.1%.

More recent research by the TUC, published in May 2016 to mark National Work from Home day, found that the number of employees who say they usually work from home has increased by a fifth (19%) over the past decade, with nearly a quarter of a million (241,000) more people working from home than 10 years ago.

The biggest growth in regular home working has been among women employees, with 35% (157,000) more working from home in 2015 than in 2005.

However, men still account for the majority of homeworkers, with 912,000 regularly working from home in 2015, compared to 609,000 women.

Older employees are more likely to work from home, with 454,000 in their forties and 414,000 in their fifties home-working.


Source:  The Office of National Statistics, Sage, The TUC


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