National Statistical

News and insight from the office for national statistics, working from home: comparing the data.

  • Chris Shine
  • May 17, 2021

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The onset of the coronavirus pandemic early last year has had huge impacts on many aspects of our everyday lives, and so the Office for National Statistics has needed to produce new and faster figures to track them. One aspect is the increase in those working from home, on which we have today published new data for 2020. Chris Shine examines the data sources and what they have to say.

At the start of the pandemic, the rapid creation of completely new data sources such as the Coronavirus Infection Survey and the Business Insights and Conditions Survey has played a vital role in  ONS’s ability to rise to the challenge of providing new and faster data to enhance our understanding of society and the economy.

While such new surveys and sources have provided timely data which complement existing official statistics, this has also led to more than one estimate on the same topic, whether created for different purposes or addressing different populations, such as business versus household surveys.

One example is our estimates of working from home, something that many people unexpectedly found themselves doing since the onset of the first lockdown early last year. So, on the day that we publish the latest dataset from the Annual Population Survey (APS), we consider the differences in coverage of our various sources on homeworking and their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Existing sources

While a number of new surveys have been introduced that report on employment-related indicators, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) remains the main source of official employment statistics published by the ONS.

The LFS is a rolling quarterly survey of the employment circumstances of the UK population and provides the official measures of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity. With a sample of approximately 80,000 people every quarter, it is the largest household survey in the UK and allows us to take an in-depth look at the labour market. To enable the ONS to provide even more detailed analysis, we combine part of the LFS sample with an additional top-up survey to create the Annual Population Survey (APS) which provides more granular estimates on an annual basis.

To estimate the proportion of people working from home, the LFS and APS primarily ask broad questions such as whether respondents mainly work from home, or if they did any work from home in the week prior to their interview. This method is a reliable way of obtaining general working habits and can be broken down in several different ways to produce detailed analysis across different groups, for example by industry, occupation, region, age, sex and ethnicity. However, the data are less timely than some of our newer sources, and so is less able to capture temporary or emerging changes. This source was used at the start of the pandemic to estimate the baseline for homeworking in 2019 in the UK.

New sources

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ONS introduced new ways to enable us more easily to track the week-on-week changes that it brought, including the way the labour market was adapting to changing restrictions.

The existing Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) was redesigned as a weekly survey that contains questions on a wide range of different topics on how the pandemic is affecting households and individuals in the UK. The survey includes questions on where people have worked in the past seven days – including whether they have worked at home, whether they have travelled to work or both. This gives us timely insights on changing patterns of work, of considerable value to policymakers. However, due to its smaller sample size, it is not able to provide granular estimates of demographic differences like the LFS/APS. The OPN has been used regularly in our Social Impacts releases as well as in several iterations looking at sub-national estimates.

The Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) is a fortnightly survey of businesses used to collect real-time information on issues impacting them and the economy. It asks employers a number of questions on homeworking, including the proportion of their workforce working from home in the previous 14 days. The strengths and weaknesses of BICS are similar to those of the OPN, albeit it is answered from an employers’ perspective. Questions in each of these surveys are flexible and can be altered or supplemented to align with emerging priorities and interests, which coupled with their timeliness, have made them valuable sources during the pandemic. However, unlike the APS, they cannot provide comparisons with the pre-pandemic situation.

Other sources, analysis and upcoming releases

As well as the regular releases described above, homeworking estimates have often had a role to play in other publications, including those using experimental surveys and methodologies.

The Labour Market Survey (LMS – an experimental online-only household survey) is being developed as a replacement for the LFS. Recent homeworking analysis compared the findings of the LMS and LFS and highlighted limited differences between the two. Data from this survey were used early in the pandemic to estimate its impact on homeworking in the UK.

Homeworking hours, rewards and opportunities in the UK:2011 to 2020 : using new, experimental weightings on the APS survey,we produced average Homeworking hours, rewards and opportunities in the UK: 2011 to 2020  across 2020 and used these to explore the impact homeworking has had on an individual’s job outcomes and productivity.

Online Time Use Survey : the Coronavirus and how people spent their time under lockdown gave us a fascinating insight into how people in Great Britain spent their time during different periods in the pandemic. Among other insights, the survey was able to look at the amount of time people were spending working at home, at a café or similar, and away from the home. This is done by people telling us all the activities they did across two 24-hour days, a work day and a weekend day.

Which jobs can be done from home? : applying data from a United States (US) survey of characteristics of different jobs to the Annual Population Survey and the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, we identified  five factors  that are associated with jobs being more or less feasible to be carried out from home.

Management practices, homeworking and productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic : this article , also published today, looks at the effect of management practices on the successful implementation of homeworking.

Next month, we are also publishing an article that will synthesize estimates from the OPN and BICS to explore what people and businesses think the future of work will be like in a post-pandemic world.

Insights from our sources

Our collection of sources enable us to provide a rich insight into what’s happening in the labour market and by bringing these sources together we are able to offer a holistic view of trends in homeworking.

For example, using  APS data we see that prior to the pandemic in 2019, just 26.7% of the workforce on average during the year reported that they had done any work from home. LMS data told us that by April 2020, following the outbreak of COVID-19, the proportion of people in employment who had done some work at home had increased to 46.6%.

We could then use sources such as OPN and BICS to monitor how this proportion changed over the course of the year and in particular attempt to isolate how it responded to events such as changes in government guidance or restrictions. The weekly OPN data showed us that as the country emerged from the spring 2020 lockdown and restrictions were gradually eased over the summer, the proportion of people working from home gradually declined towards a low point at the end of August of 27% before the reintroduction of restrictions in the autumn saw this number rebound to reach 47% in early February. The latest trends suggest the proportion is again declining as the UK nations continue along their various roadmaps for easing restrictions.

In conclusion

The pandemic has had huge effects on people’s propensity to work from home, just as with many other aspects of life. As the country emerges again from lockdown, it is too soon to say how permanent or widespread these changes will prove to be, with many commentators talking about ‘hybrid’ forms of working in which employees attend a central workplace, but much less often than in the past. However, thanks to the different sources of data which have been outlined in this blog, as these changes play out, the ONS will be well placed to track how people’s places of work are, or are not, changing.

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Chris Shine works in  P ublic  P olicy  A nalysis at the Office for National Statistics.

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Most people in UK did not work from home in 2020, says ONS

Uneven impact of Covid laid bare, with affluent London suburbs having highest proportion of home workers

The proportion of people working from home more than doubled in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, though it remained a minority of overall workers across the UK, according to an official snapshot.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said about a quarter of people (25.9%) had worked at home at some point in the week before they responded to officials conducting its annual population survey. It said that this compared with 12.4% of workers in 2019.

However, some staff were more likely to work from home than others in a reflection of the uneven impact and experiences of the health emergency across the UK – with much higher concentrations of workers doing their jobs from home in London than elsewhere.

According to the figures, 46.4% of people working in the capital said they worked at home at some point in 2020. The highest proportion of home workers were in affluent suburbs. More than 70% of all staff in the borough of Richmond upon Thames said they had already worked from home.

Home working was lowest in rural Scotland and the northern English towns of Burnley and Middlesbrough, where fewer than 14% of employees said they had ever worked from home.

The annual population survey included two questions: one asking respondents if they had worked from home in the week prior to being interviewed by ONS officials, and another asking if they had ever done any work from home. There was a smaller increase in the numbers who had ever worked from home at any point, rising from 26.7% in 2019 to 36.5% in 2020.

Despite confirming a rise during the pandemic, the figures suggest most of the British workforce continued to travel to workplaces during the health emergency, despite portrayals of abandoned city centres and empty offices in the media.

Reflecting the economic landscape of Britain and the ability to transfer some jobs to remote working more than others, cities with larger numbers of office-based jobs in sectors such as finance and IT had higher proportions of people working from home. Places with a higher local share of manufacturing jobs, as well as retail, leisure and hospitality work, had much lower figures.

According to the snapshot, more than half of managers, directors, senior officials and professional staff worked from home, compared with fewer than 10% of cleaners, factory workers and drivers.

Home workers were more likely to be at an established stage in their career, with people in their 40s twice as likely to be working from home than staff aged 20-24. The proportion of men and women working from home was broadly similar, while black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers were less likely to do their jobs from home than white and Chinese workers and those from other ethnic groups.

The figures have been released as lockdown measures are gradually relaxed and more people start to return to city-centre offices, reflected in rising urban footfall, road trips and use of public transport. There is growing speculation over the future of city centres and office-based jobs, as many companies look to retain some flexible working practices.

The accountancy firm BDO has told staff to decide for themselves when to come into the office as lockdown measures are eased, enabling staff to work in the most productive location for the task they are doing. KPMG has launched plans for its 16,000 UK staff to work a “ four-day fortnight ” in the office, with the rest at home or with clients. However, some firms are ordering staff to be ready to return to the office when restrictions are lifted, including the US banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan .

The ONS said the share of people doing their jobs remotely had fluctuated in line with government restrictions, with as many as 46.6% of employees reporting in April 2020 that they had worked from home at some point during the first lockdown. This fell to a low of 27% in August as restrictions were relaxed and the government urged people to return to work, before rising sharply back to 47% in early February this year as the pandemic worsened.

Chris Shine, a policy analyst at the ONS, said: “As the country emerges again from lockdown, it is too soon to say how permanent or widespread these changes will prove to be, with many commentators talking about ‘hybrid’ forms of working in which employees attend a central workplace, but less often than in the past.”

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  • Published: 29 January 2022

Enforced home-working under lockdown and its impact on employee wellbeing: a cross-sectional study

  • Katharine Platts 1 ,
  • Jeff Breckon 2 &
  • Ellen Marshall 3  

BMC Public Health volume  22 , Article number:  199 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

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The Covid-19 pandemic precipitated a shift in the working practices of millions of people. Nearly half the British workforce (47%) reported to be working at home under lockdown in April 2020. This study investigated the impact of enforced home-working under lockdown on employee wellbeing via markers of stress, burnout, depressive symptoms, and sleep. Moderating effects of factors including age, gender, number of dependants, mental health status and work status were examined alongside work-related factors including work-life conflict and leadership quality.

Cross-sectional data were collected over a 12-week period from May to August 2020 using an online survey. Job-related and wellbeing factors were measured using items from the COPSOQIII. Stress, burnout, somatic stress, cognitive stress, and sleep trouble were tested together using MANOVA and MANCOVA to identify mediating effects. T-tests and one-way ANOVA identified differences in overall stress. Regression trees identified groups with highest and lowest levels of stress and depressive symptoms.

81% of respondents were working at home either full or part-time ( n  = 623, 62% female). Detrimental health impacts of home-working during lockdown were most acutely experienced by those with existing mental health conditions regardless of age, gender, or work status, and were exacerbated by working regular overtime. In those without mental health conditions, predictors of stress and depressive symptoms were being female, under 45 years, home-working part-time and two dependants, though men reported greater levels of work-life conflict. Place and pattern of work had a greater impact on women. Lower leadership quality was a significant predictor of stress and burnout for both men and women, and, for employees aged > 45 years, had significant impact on level of depressive symptoms experienced.


Experience of home-working under lockdown varies amongst groups. Knowledge of these differences provide employers with tools to better manage employee wellbeing during periods of crisis. While personal factors are not controllable, the quality of leadership provided to employees, and the ‘place and pattern’ of work, can be actively managed to positive effect. Innovative flexible working practices will help to build greater workforce resilience.

Peer Review reports

The Covid-19 pandemic, and subsequent public health lockdowns around the world, have precipitated a shift in the working practices of millions of people. An estimated 47% of the British workforce reported to be working at home in April 2020 (compared to 5% in 2019), with 86% of this number a direct result of the Covid-19 national lockdown [ 1 ].

Home-working, or ‘home-based telework’ as it is sometimes termed [ 2 ], has traditionally been undertaken by mutual agreement between employer and employee, typically in white-collar and professional occupations. Most of what is known about the impact of home-working on employees is in the context of voluntary and consensual arrangements, such as flexible working schedules and hybrid arrangements where time is shared between remote telework and office-based work. How a sudden and unexpected change in working circumstances impacts the psychological, emotional, and physiological wellbeing of workers is not well understood, and yet there is broad consensus that positive employee wellbeing is an important precursor to positive performance at work [ 3 ].

Conceptualization of wellbeing at work

Work-related wellbeing as characterised by Van Horn et al. [ 4 ] comprises the five interrelated dimensions of affective wellbeing (mood/affect, job satisfaction, organisational commitment, emotional exhaustion); cognitive wellbeing (cognitive weariness, concentration and taking up new information); social wellbeing (social functioning in relationships with colleagues); professional wellbeing (autonomy, aspiration, and competence); and psychosomatic wellbeing (physical health). This multi-dimensional approach provides a broader frame of reference to help understand the organisational and job-related factors that influence personal wellbeing. Though focused on the individual, these constructs are important to employers who must ensure that gains are not achieved at the cost of poor employee health outcomes [ 5 ].

Wellbeing in a home-working context

Experience of home-working will differ from population to population. While many studies have supported the view that home-working engenders positive health outcomes such as reduction in stress [ 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 ], burnout [ 10 ] and fatigue [ 11 , 12 ], as well as increases in general happiness [ 11 ] and quality of life [ 8 , 13 ], others have found detrimental impacts to general psychological wellbeing [ 14 , 15 ], burnout [ 16 ], and work-life balance [ 17 , 18 ]. Nevertheless, the mechanisms driving these effects are not always clear and are dependent upon a range of individual and environmental factors. Gender and parental status, for example, play key roles in the nature and experience of working at home, as this arrangement tends to promote a more traditional division of labour, with women often using home-working as a tool to maintain work capacity in periods of increased family demands, such as after childbirth [ 19 ].

Flexible working arrangements, including working at home, that increase employee autonomy and choice are generally found to be conducive to positive wellbeing [ 20 ] and may help improve work-life balance. Flexible working arrangements are more accommodating of individual needs and allow for greater employee independence, higher levels of work-time control and agency over work-related decisions (autonomy), yet are associated with significantly higher levels of work-life conflict [ 21 ], where work concerns distract from and disrupt home life (or vice versa) wherein stress is induced or increased and efforts at sleep and recovery are hampered [ 22 , 23 ].

The elimination of choice – transitioning to a an ‘enforced’ home-working scenario

Inquiry into whether what is known about home-working under ‘normal’ circumstances holds true when the element of personal choice is removed, and the worker may have to share space and resources with other household members mandated to stay at home under lockdown.

Recent research suggests that mandated home-working environments may have negative impacts from a physical health perspective [ 24 ], that the persistent overuse of technology for communications is increasing levels of stress [ 25 ], and the social deficit created by lack of interpersonal contact while working at home under lockdown may be detrimental to emotional wellbeing [ 26 ]. Some have suggested that work-life conflict is exacerbated in an environment where the boundaries between work and home are permeable and ill-defined, in particular at a time when leaving the home for long periods of time is not possible, such as during lockdown [ 18 ]. For employees managing long-term mental health conditions, working at home during lockdown is likely to have had serious negative consequences, as routines are disrupted and access to critical support services and social contact are lost [ 27 , 28 ].

Female employees may be more at risk of emotional exhaustion and physical health problems under lockdown circumstances than male employees [ 29 , 30 ], and increased autonomy, such as the ability to adjust working times and work overtime to catch up on work at home, has a particularly detrimental impact on women due to increased work-life conflict [ 31 ]. Women, and those of both genders in younger age groups (< 35 years), more often report high emotional demands at work and physical exhaustion during periods of mandated home-working [ 32 ].

Quality of leadership, supervisory and collegial support all influence employee experience, yet in a time of crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, organisational leaders may not be properly equipped to manage their people from a distance, lacking the essential skills of effective ‘virtual leaders’ [ 33 , 34 ].

Aims of this study

This study examined the combined impact of age, gender, dependants, mental health status and work status in relation to enforced home-working and the effects on wellbeing markers including stress, burnout, depressive symptoms, and sleep in UK employees. The study considered the following across public, private and third sector organisations; (i) which groups have the poorest wellbeing levels at a time of mandated home-working and (ii) which factors exert significant moderating and mediating influences; both in terms of personal and environmental factors such as gender, age and dependants, and work-related factors such as quality of leadership and social support.

Participants and procedures

Ethical approval for the study was obtained via Sheffield Hallam University Research Ethics Committee (No. ER23891582). Private, public and third sector organisations operating in the United Kingdom were invited to participate in the study. Participating organisations were required to have a significant proportion of their workforce involuntarily working from home due to Covid-19 pandemic lockdown measures. Nine organisations volunteered to participate, with private ( n  = 5), public ( n  = 2) and third sector ( n  = 2) organisations represented in the sample. A total of 623 adults from these organisations responded to an invitation to participate delivered via their employer. Individual participant inclusion criteria included being of working age (18 years +) and in either full-time or part-time employment. A summary of participant demographics can be found in Table 1 .

Data collection and measures

Cross-sectional data were collected over a 12-week period from May 2020 to August 2020 during the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown measures in the UK. A 33-item questionnaire was developed for the purposes of the study and delivered online using Qualtrics secure web-survey (© Qualtrics LLC, 2021). Informed participant consent was collected on the Qualtrics platform prior to data collection, and those that did not consent were not able to access the survey.

Five demographic items were collected: age category, gender, number of dependants, mental health status (defined in two categories as presence or absence of diagnosed mental health condition), and work status (defined in four categories as working at home full-time, working at home part-time, working in usual place of work, furloughed).

Job-related and health and wellbeing factors were measured using 28 items from the English version of the Third Copenhagen Psychosocial Risk Assessment Questionnaire (COPSOQIII) [ 35 ] comprising core items plus additional items from the middle and long version as appropriate. The COPSOQIII was deemed appropriate for the study due to its effectiveness across diverse industry sectors and in organisations of varying sizes, and for allowing analysis against different workplace wellbeing frameworks including the Five-Dimension Model [ 4 ].

Work-related factors in six domains were investigated by assessing to what extent respondents were able to exert control over breaks (1 item), extent of overtime worked (1 item), how they rated quality of organisational leadership (2 items), how they rated social support from their supervisor and colleagues (2 items) and level of work-life conflict experienced (4 items). Work-related items were measured on a 5-point rating scales using various statements appropriate to the question.

Wellbeing factors in six domains were investigated by assessing to what extent the respondent suffered from common symptoms. The domains were sleeping troubles (1 item), burnout (4 items), stress (3 items), somatic stress (3 items), cognitive stress (3 items) and depressive symptoms (4 items). Wellbeing items were measured on a 5-point rating scale (scored as 100 = all the time, 75 = a large part of the time, 50 = part of the time, 25 = a small part of the time, 0 = not at all). All wellbeing subscales showed good internal consistency (Cronbach’s \(\alpha >0.8\) ) but the two items from the ‘control over working time’ subscale (control over breaks and extent of overtime worked) had poor consistency and were therefore used separately in analysis.

Data analysis

Statistical analyses of data were undertaken using IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Version No. 26) Stress, burnout, somatic stress, cognitive stress and sleep trouble were all at least moderately correlated and demonstrated similar impact so were tested together using MANOVA initially and then MANCOVA to test mediating effects, all with Tukey post-hoc tests; whereas group comparisons for depressive symptoms were not consistent and were tested separately for all analyses.

A standardised factor score to represent ‘overall stress’ (alpha = 0.87) was created from the stress-related subscales stress, burnout, somatic stress, cognitive stress, and sleep trouble, and used instead of the individual variables. Initial analysis used independent t-tests and one-way ANOVA to test differences in overall stress, for each of the key demographic variables. Regression trees were used to identify groups with higher levels of the stress factor score or depressive symptoms using the core demographic variables of interest and the key work-related factors of quality of leadership, social support, and work-life conflict.

A total of 623 people completed the survey (62% female). 53% of all participants had one or more dependants, while 11% reported a diagnosed mental health condition. The majority (81%) were working at home because of lockdown restrictions, either full-time or part-time, while 9% continued to work in their usual place. 5% of participants were furloughed and so did not complete all the questions from the work-related subscales. 5% of people defined their work status as ‘other’ and were removed from analyses where work status was considered.

Gender, age, mental health status, dependants and work status effects on wellbeing markers and work-life conflict

As shown in Table 1 , women had significantly higher levels of stress and depressive symptoms (t = -3.06, p  = 0.002; t = -4.19, p  < 0.002), but men reported significantly higher levels of work-life conflict (t = 2.31, p  = 0.021). Across both genders, those aged 25–44 years had significantly higher stress compared to those aged 45 + years ( F  = 8.98, p  < 0.001). Depressive symptoms decreased with age, with those aged 16–24 years reporting the highest levels, and those aged 45 + years reporting lower levels than all other age groups. The 35–44 age group reported significantly higher levels of work-life conflict than those aged < 25 years or 45 + years of age ( F  = 4.9, p  = 0.001). Those who reported a diagnosed mental health condition had significantly higher stress and depressive symptoms than those who did not (t = -7.5, p  < 0.001; t = -5.7, p  < 0.001), but no significant difference in work-life conflict was found between these two groups. The number of dependants did not impact on depressive symptoms, but stress variables were found to be consistently higher for those with two dependants ( F  = 4.24, p  = 0.006). Levels of work-life conflict were significantly higher for those with two dependants when compared to the effects of 0, 1, or 3 + dependants ( F  = 15.8, p  < 0.001).

As shown in Fig.  1 , those working at home part-time generally had the highest levels of stress and depressive symptoms. There were significant work status differences for sleeping troubles ( F  = 5.32, p  = 0.001), with those working at home part-time having significantly higher levels of sleep troubles than those working at home full-time. Those working at home full-time or part-time, and those furloughed, had significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than those working in their usual place of work ( F  = 3.94, p  = 0.009).

figure 1

Wellbeing factors and work life conflict by work status

Work status and mental health

There was a significant interaction between work status and mental health [Wilk's Λ = 0.935, p  = 0.002, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.022]\) for the stress-related variables, and for depressive symptoms [ F (3,534) = 3.35, p  = 0.019, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.018]\) . Those with a diagnosed mental health condition had consistently higher levels of stress, cognitive stress, somatic stress, burnout, and sleep troubles when working at home or furloughed. Within this group, part-time home-workers and those who were furloughed experienced the highest levels stress and depressive symptoms (see Fig.  2 as a typical example), although the differences were not significant for depressive symptoms.

figure 2

Mean cognitive stress (marginal) by work status and mental health status. 95% Confidence Intervals

Combined effects of work status and gender

The combined effects of work status and gender were only examined for the group with no diagnosed mental health condition. The interaction was significant between work status and gender for stress [Wilk's Λ = 0.935, p  = 0.007, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.022]\) . As shown in the example in Fig.  3 , work status generally had more of an impact on women, with those working at home, particularly part-time, having consistently higher scores on the stress variables. For those in their usual place of work, men scored significantly higher than women for stress and burnout.

figure 3

Burnout by work status and gender

Quality of leadership was a significant negative predictor of stress, burnout, somatic and cognitive stress for both men and women [Wilk's Λ = 0.959, p  = 0.003, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.041]\) . After controlling for quality of leadership, the interaction between gender and work status for stress was still significant [Wilk's Λ = 0.951, p  = 0.015, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.025]\) but the place-of-work differences observed for women were reduced, so quality of leadership was not a mediating factor.

After controlling for work-life conflict, the interaction between gender and work status for stress was significant [Wilk's Λ = 0.953, p  = 0.017, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.024]\) ], and gender differences increased as men had higher work-life conflict scores generally. For those working full-time at home, women had significantly higher stress, burnout, somatic stress, and sleep trouble than men after controlling for work-life conflict. Women working at home part-time had significantly higher stress scores than men, and women in their usual place of work had significantly higher levels of sleep troubles. No significant interactions were found between work status and gender for depressive symptoms.

Combined effects of work status and age

The interaction between work status and age group for stress-related factors was significant (Wilk’s lambda = 0.848, p  = 0.037, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.034\) ) for the group with no diagnosed mental health condition, with age impacting most on part-time home-workers, and those in the 35–44-year age group most stressed. After controlling for quality of leadership, differences became more pronounced and a more general downward trend by age group was observed – particularly for somatic and cognitive stress (Fig.  4 ). No significant interactions were found between work status and age for depressive symptoms.

figure 4

Cognitive stress by work status and age group

Combined effects of work status and number of dependants

The interaction between work status and number of dependants for stress was not significant so was removed from the model. The interaction between work status and number of dependants for depressive symptoms was borderline significant [F(9,466) = 800.9, p  = 0.054,, \({{\eta }_{p}}^{2}=0.035\) ]. Those with one dependant whilst working at home full-time or part-time had significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than those in their usual place of work. Those with 3 + dependants and on furlough leave experienced significantly more depressive symptoms than those in their usual place of work.

Identifying groups of workers with highest and lowest levels of depressive symptoms or stress.

Regression tree analysis enabled further groupings to be identified from a wider range of variables. Figure  5 shows the regression tree with depressive symptoms as the dependent variable and all key demographic and work-related factors included. The presence or absence of a mental health condition gave rise to the largest difference in mean level of depressive symptoms (20-point difference), so the groups were separated first. Those with an existing mental health condition who occasionally or always worked overtime were the most depressed group (M 54.1, 95% CI 47,61). Those with a mental health condition who never worked overtime had a much lower score for depressive symptoms (M 25.4, 95% CI 14,37) which is more in line with the group with no mental health condition (M 27.2).

figure 5

Comparison of wellbeing and work-related factor means by depressive symptoms regression tree group (M = mean score 0–100)

Amongst those with no mental health condition, the sub-group with the lowest depressive symptoms overall was the one aged over 45 years who rated quality of leadership highly (M13.35, 95% CI 9,18), and the sub-group with the highest levels of depressive symptoms overall were those aged under 35 years, who didn’t always have social support from their supervisor and could not always exert control over taking breaks (M 45.3, 95% CI 39,52).

Ten sub-groups were identified using the standardised stress factor score as the dependent variable which has a mean of zero; thus, positive scores were above average and negative scores were below average. Table 3 shows the group means for each of the stress variables as well as the standardised score for each group. The presence or absence of a mental health condition gave rise to the largest difference in mean level of stress, so those groups were separated first. Mean stress levels were highest overall in the sub-group with diagnosed mental health conditions that always had to work overtime (M 1.16, 94% CI 0.89,1.42). For the group with no mental health condition, the key variables selected to separate groups were quality of leadership, age, control over breaks, number of dependants and gender. Where quality of leadership was low (M < 69), the group with the highest mean levels of stress were those aged 25–44 (M 0.41, 95% CI: 0.21,0.62). Where quality of leadership was high (M 69 +) the group with the highest levels of stress had 2 + dependants and were less able to exert control over breaks (M 0.57, 95% CI: 0.15,1). This sub-group also had the highest levels of burnout, somatic stress, and sleep trouble. The sub-group with the lowest levels of stress were those aged under 25 or 45 + who had high levels of control over their breaks and zero dependants (M -0.97, 95% CI: -1.3,-0.64). This group also had the lowest levels of burnout, somatic stress, cognitive stress and depressive symptoms and relatively high levels of social support.

Employee wellbeing has been impacted by the recent global pandemic, typically resulting from increased levels of enforced home-working. This study set out to examine the impact of age, gender, dependants, mental health status and work status on employee wellbeing under enforced home-working conditions, as well as the influence of work-related factors such as work-life conflict, quality of leadership and social support from supervisors and colleagues.

The findings suggest that detrimental wellbeing impacts of enforced home-working are most acutely experienced by those with existing mental health conditions, regardless of age, gender, or work status, and that home-working and having to work regular overtime strongly exacerbate issues of poor sleep, stress, and depression in those who are suffering with mental health issues. In healthy individuals, both age and gender appear to play moderating roles in feelings of stress and depression at times of enforced home-working, with women and younger age groups generally faring worse than others.

Working pattern and place (‘work status’) has emerged [ 36 ], alongside the presence of a mental health condition, as a key factor in determining wellbeing impacts of enforced home-working, with place and pattern of work having a greater impact on women. Those working at home full- or part-time reported significantly higher levels of stress and depression than those who continued to work in their usual place during lockdown, indicating that abrupt disruption to routine and unfamiliarity of working practices and environment, potentially coupled with job insecurity and concerns about the pandemic in general, has a broadly negative effect on emotional wellbeing.

Quality of leadership and social support from colleagues also play key roles in moderating wellbeing outcomes, with leadership quality particularly influential in mental health outcomes for younger age groups. Poor organisational leadership and the requirement to work after hours are known to be significantly associated with occupational stress, anxiety, and depression [ 37 , 38 ] and for those with mental health issues these factors appear amplified; indeed, where regular overtime is not required, the positive impact on depressive symptoms in this cohort is considerable. Where leadership quality was rated highly in the present study, it had a positive impact by reducing stress and depressive symptoms in those working at home full-time with a diagnosed mental health condition. This reinforces the critical role organisational leaders play in mitigating any damaging effects of home-working in those suffering poor mental health, and thus should be a priority for organisations.

Any individual may suffer altered mood states on a short-, medium- or long-term basis which are experienced as depressive symptoms, stress, and poor sleep, as has been the case for much of the global population during the Covid-19 pandemic [ 39 ]. In the UK, around 1 in 5 adults reported feelings of depression in early 2021 – over double pre-pandemic levels [ 40 ]. In the present study, leadership quality impacted across several healthy groups and influenced the extent to which employees experienced stress, depressive symptoms and trouble sleeping. For example, leadership quality strongly influenced experience of depressive symptoms in employees aged 45 + , with those experiencing ‘very high’ leadership quality suffering virtually no depressive symptoms at all, compared to those who were not. This evidence suggests that the most important protective factors against stress and depressive symptoms were not having an existing mental health condition and high quality of leadership, the latter of which may act, for example, as a buffer against the stresses of a lack of work resources [ 41 ].

The role of gender and work status on mental health

Women’s psychological health appears to have been deeply affected by the pandemic [ 42 ]. Women have suffered significant and clinically relevant declines in mental wellbeing [ 39 ] alongside generally higher levels of health anxiety [ 43 ]. Evidence from this study shows that women suffered higher levels of stress, burnout, somatic stress, sleep trouble and depressive symptoms than their male counterparts during lockdown, particularly when home-working on a part-time basis, while men reported higher levels of work-life conflict.

As many organisations consider a move to permanent remote-working or ‘hybrid’ working models in the wake of the pandemic, they must be appropriately sensitive to the mental health challenges this may bring about for working women. Approximately 70% of the British national part-time workforce are women (some 5.67 million women in Q1 2021) [ 44 ] and the choice of many women to work part-time appears to be connected to childcare responsibilities [ 45 ]. Childcare and housework responsibilities remain predominantly within the remit of the mother (in households with children), with women in part-time work spending more time on house-work and childcare than those in full-time work [ 46 ]. Women working from home during lockdown with no access to supportive childcare are especially exhausted [ 42 ]. It is feasible that long periods of involuntary part-time home-working, such as that which could be imposed via a ‘hybrid’ model, could results in increased poor health outcomes for women as they struggle to balance domestic and professional responsibilities.

The impacts of enforced (often abrupt) new working patterns and practices appear to be equally felt by men. Working parents in general have higher levels of stress [ 47 ] and work-life conflict [ 48 ], and this study found that overall stress was significantly higher for individuals of either gender with two dependants (compared to 0,1, or 3 + dependants), although no impacts on depressive symptoms were found. Therefore, while women report more negative psychosomatic wellbeing effects, men appear to experience the greatest disruption under lockdown, reporting the highest levels of work-life conflict while home-working – which was itself observed to have a strong positive relationship with stress. This finding is somewhat unexpected and suggests that women are in some way better prepared to manage disruptions to their working life than men, which may be due to persisting traditional gender and parenting roles. The presence of dependants at home and age of dependants will influence stress-related issues [ 48 ], so in the absence of physical or temporal boundaries between work and home life, how effective an individual is at managing their transition between work and non-work activity whilst home-working may strongly influence the level of work-life conflict they experience [ 49 ], regardless of gender.

The influence of age and work status on mental health

For young adults in the UK, experience of depressive symptoms more than doubled during the pandemic, with 29% of those aged 16–39 reporting symptoms in early 2021 [ 40 ]. The reasons underpinning this wave of poor mental health are complex, but loneliness, work uncertainty, and financial insecurity are all indicated as factors that have amplified feelings of depression and sadness in young people during the pandemic [ 49 , 50 , 51 ].

For individuals without diagnosed mental health conditions, age emerges in this study as the key variable in determining level of depression and stress during periods of enforced home-working, with symptoms of both decreasing with age. After controlling for quality of leadership, differences between age groups became more pronounced and a downward trend by age was observed – particularly for somatic and cognitive stress. With poor ‘ cognitive wellbeing’ [ 4 ] comes lack of concentration, weariness, and burnout [ 52 ], yet a simple change in schedule may decrease the likelihood of job stress by 20% and increase job satisfaction [ 53 ] providing further evidence of the importance of competent and ‘health promoting’ leadership to maintain both positive wellbeing [ 54 ] and work engagement.

Professional isolation and lack of contact and communication with colleagues will negatively affect mental wellbeing in times of home-working during a crisis [ 55 , 56 ]. In this study, those under 35 without a pre-existing mental health condition who had low levels of support from supervisors (and no control over breaks) were found to have the highest levels of depressive symptoms, while those aged over 45 who rated leadership quality highly were the least depressed group in this study. While older age groups may be suffering less, they appear more willing to seek help and support with serious illness than their younger counterparts [ 57 ], which may make identification of arising issues more difficult. These findings further emphasize the importance of factors such as autonomy and relationships associated with the ‘ social’ and ‘ professional’ dimensions of wellbeing [ 4 ], and directs organisations to encourage employees to develop regular, meaningful social contact with peers and supervisors; but equally be supported to psychologically detach from work and draw firm boundaries between their work and domestic domains.

Implications for practice

There is a need to adapt approaches to leadership (and its training) that embrace the differences between home-working and traditional office-based environments and the challenges of ‘virtual’ leadership. It does not seem viable to rely on typical approaches to leadership and management that do not have currency and flexibility in the future work context. Organisations must invest in manager training and adopt a style of virtual leadership that is supportive and empowering (not intrusive or exploitative) alongside clear referral pathways for those needing more professional mental health support. This also raises the opportunity of increasing managers awareness of wellbeing in the workplace, its impact, and strategies for alleviating ill-health and enhancing wellbeing.

Limitations and future research

Working practices, especially for office-based individuals, are forever-changed. There is a need for research to consider the unique and varied contexts within which employees now work and to apply a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand both the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of home-working and its impact on individuals using validated tools [ 58 ].

A cross-sectional survey design was chosen for this study due to the ease and speed of implementation in a pandemic context, however the limitations of this design are acknowledged, as is the risk of sampling and survey bias. Though efforts were made to limit this, the analysis is susceptible to random statistical error due to sample size. Equally, the homogenous geographical location of participants must be considered. Nevertheless, this study provides critical insights and direction for future research, which must consider the mediators and moderators of employee wellbeing across larger and geographically diverse groups and provide frameworks for organisations to monitor and evaluate the effect of the workplace, be that office-based, or a blend of both.

Employee experiences of enforced home-working are influenced by factors such as personality, home environment, access to social support, physical and mental health issues, employment support structures and financial status. Yet, perhaps the most important factor that can be controlled and better managed by organisations is the quality of leadership provided to employees. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced employers to rethink their approach to how, where and when their employees work but the awareness of the need for adapting leadership styles, processes and mechanisms appears to be lagging. There is a need to better understand the factors that positively and negatively influence employee wellbeing and take a more proactive and preventative approach to improving employee outcomes through policy development, manager training and creative health interventions. While the pandemic will pass in time, organisations must consider the impact of future crises on their flexible working practices to build greater resilience in systems and employees. While personal employee factors are not controllable, organisations must develop a greater understanding of the role they play in reducing the likelihood of ill-health and promoting increased wellbeing and subsequently morale and productivity.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are held within Sheffield Hallam University Research Store and are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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The authors wish to thank all participating organisations for their role in facilitating this study. The authors wish to thank Will Gould for providing additional support with data analysis.

This research was part-funded by Innovate UK and part-funded by Westfield Health Ltd. as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project.

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KP conceived and designed the study, collected the data, and drafted the majority of the manuscript in consultation with the other authors. JB provided scientific support with study planning and provided content contributions and editorial feedback throughout the writing process. EM advised on data analysis methods, conducted all statistical analyses, and contributed to the writing of the results section. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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KP is a Research Associate at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University studying workplace health and wellbeing interventions. JB is Head of Research for the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity at Sheffield Hallam University with expertise in the clinical application of behaviour change counselling using integrative therapies such as Motivational Interviewing. EM is a Senior Lecturer in mathematics and statistics at Sheffield Hallam University.

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Ethics approval for this study was obtained via Sheffield Hallam University Research Ethics Committee (No. ER23891582). All methods were performed in accordance with the guidelines and regulations set out by Sheffield Hallam University Research Ethics Committee. Each participating organisation gave consent for its workforce to be surveyed. Individual participants were provided with full information regarding the study in advance of the survey. Consent to participate was collected on the Qualtrics survey platform prior to data collection, and those that did not consent were not able to access the survey.

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Platts, K., Breckon, J. & Marshall, E. Enforced home-working under lockdown and its impact on employee wellbeing: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 22 , 199 (2022).

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Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic: benefits, challenges and considerations for future ways of working

To understand in the short-term how employees may respond to a policy, such as working from home, this report draws on a rapid review of relevant literature (from 2020-2022) and responses from an open-ended survey with members of the public in Scotland.

Executive summary

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world introduced measures to try and reduce the risk of infection. This included advice or requirements for people to work from home, unless they were key workers. This represented a major and sudden change for a large number of people.

The working from home experience is multi-layered. Understanding its effects, at a personal and societal level, requires consideration of how someone's home environment, work related responsibilities and their personal circumstances interact to impact on their experiences. Due to the diversity and complexity of people's experiences, it is not possible to make a nationwide assessment and summary of how people experienced working from home, for Scotland as a whole.

With this in mind, the aim of this research was to explore a range of working from home perceptions and experiences and then set out the advantages and disadvantages. Data was drawn from a rapid review of relevant literature and responses to open-ended questions, included in a survey with members of the public in Scotland in 2022 (see Annex A and Annex B ). The report is presented in two main sections to explore why some workers perceived benefits and others struggled.

In summary:

Reported benefits of working from home

Work-life balance

  • Additional time gained from not commuting was valued. It enabled some employees to spend more time with family or on leisure activities. Time savings also helped some employees who coordinated their time between work and caring responsibilities.
  • Some people reported that they had saved money while working from home, mainly due to the reduction in commuting, socialising, childcare and food costs.

Autonomy and productivity

  • Perceptions of freedom, independence and flexibility to work at times that suited people's personal schedules played a part in employees' positive feelings of job satisfaction and enhanced productivity levels.

Health and wellbeing

  • The home working environment has been beneficial for those at greater risk of COVID-19 (formerly Highest Risk List) as a means of reducing their risk of infection.
  • Some workers reported that working from home was better for their health and wellbeing. Examples provided included an improved quality of life generated through financial savings, more leisure time for exercising and a positive change to people's working environments.

Flexibility and accessibility

  • Working from home during the pandemic benefited those with health issues who may require regular breaks, need to remain close to medical equipment or those who can have unpredictable flare ups.

Reported challenges of working from home

Loss of social interaction

  • A lack of social interaction with work colleagues can make people feel isolated and disconnected. Reduced social support was a challenge - people missed the in-person and often spontaneous encounters with colleagues.

Conflict and blurred boundaries

  • Against the backdrop of worry associated with the pandemic, working from home has contributed to feelings of work-family conflict.
  • An issue that appeared to intensify these feelings, was the fact that working from home has made it harder, for some, to create a sense of separation between their personal and work life.

Overworking and increased responsibilities

  • Some employees were working longer, on average, than they did before the pandemic.
  • The pandemic restricted people's access to formal care services. The combination of trying to juggle work pressures with increased caring responsibilities was challenging for some people.

Physical health and inactivity

  • Mandatory working at home was associated with a reduction in physical activity and an increase in food and alcohol intake. Home working has also led to an increased risk of musculoskeletal issues - related to inappropriate homeworking equipment or working environment.

Workspace environment

  • Working from home can have a negative impact on employees due to the environment that someone is required to work in. Challenges around the home workspace, insufficient internet access and living in shared housing are all factors that may contribute to how challenging someone may experience working from home.

Conclusion and considerations for hybrid ways of working

  • The requirement for people to work from home, to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 , was an extraordinary situation. Understanding the implications of this policy requires an understanding of how contextual and individual factors interact to shape employees perceptions and behaviours.
  • The longer-term impact of working from home (and through a pandemic) is unclear and warrants further and more detailed analysis. In particular, the relevance and impact among different professional sectors and people's life or career stage.
  • Hybrid working has now been embraced by a number of organisations across the UK . This opposition and interaction of employees experiences should be considered by employers. This is also critical from a business perspective for business resilience and employee retention.
  • This report focuses on employees who can work from home. However, it is important to recognise that not everyone can do so. These individuals may therefore not experience some of the health and wellbeing benefits associated with working from home.

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Remote work after COVID: regulation, hybrid models and impacts on safety and health

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In response to the shifting landscape of work brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, three recent EU-OSHA publications put the spotlight on remote work, including: 

  • a report on the evolving regulation of telework in Europe and its effects on workers’ wellbeing and health;
  • a discussion paper on the emergence of hybrid work models as a new arrangement prompting changes on traditional workplace rules, with both opportunities and challenges for employers and employees; and 
  • another paper on the implications of surveillance and monitoring on the safety and health of remote workers, and the role of preventing measures. 

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Covid inquiry: is it working?

Struggling under the weight of expectation questions have been raised about its focus

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Covid Inquiry

The Covid Inquiry heard more evidence of Downing Street indecision over lockdown policies this week. 

According to diaries kept by Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser at the time, Boris Johnson was "all over the place" as to whether to impose a lockdown in October 2020, and Rishi Sunak used "spurious" arguments against one. Separately, Johnson's ex-chief of staff, Edward Udny-Lister, confirmed that the PM wanted to be injected with Covid on live TV to prove the virus wasn't dangerous, and said he'd rather "let the bodies pile high" than lock the country down in September 2020.

Last week, former deputy cabinet secretary Helen MacNamara described a "toxic" culture in No. 10, and said that a lack of diversity at a senior level may have led to women's deaths in the pandemic. The Inquiry also heard that Matt Hancock had said that, were the NHS to be overwhelmed, he wanted to decide who should live or die.

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'Evidence does matter'

British governments are "addicted to public inquiries", said The Times – and this one is a whopper. Its vast scope ranges from "national resilience" to the impact of the pandemic on business and health inequalities. "Like a latter-day Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce", it's due to "grind on" until 2026. But while it has given the media plenty to chew on, including a stream of "expletive-laden WhatsApps" chronicling the chaos at No. 10 early in the pandemic, it has so far failed to focus on what really matters: "what did and did not work during the pandemic, and how the country can better prepare itself for a similar crisis in future".

Actually, the evidence we have heard thus far does matter, said The Guardian . It matters that Britain was ill-prepared for a pandemic – and that the much-vaunted plan turned out scarcely to exist. It matters that the then-PM "was not on top of the detail" and that those taking vital decisions were consumed by "bitter rivalries". But in any case, this part of the Inquiry is explicitly about political decision-making; subsequent modules will examine other aspects of Britain's pandemic response.

'Focus on political psychodrama is distracting'

The Covid Inquiry has laid bare the rot at the heart of Johnson's government, said Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer . It has heard extensive evidence of Johnson's "ridiculous flip-flopping"; of the then-PM asking whether people with Covid could kill the virus by blasting a hairdryer up their nose; and of then-health secretary Matt Hancock adopting a batsman's stance to indicate that he was "loving the responsibility" of a job in which he was flailing ("They bowl them at me, I knock them away"). So ugly was the culture in No. 10 that Johnson himself described it as a "disgusting orgy of narcissism" – which is "like Caligula moaning that he can't stand the sight of blood". The treatment of MacNamara was especially appalling, said Judith Woods in The Daily Telegraph . This senior civil servant repeatedly warned that the government's Covid policies lacked "humanity", highlighting concerns such as the heightened risk of domestic abuse in lockdown. Yet the macho culture prevailed, with Johnson's ex-aide Dominic Cummings saying he was fed up with "dodging stilettos from that c**t", and wanted to "handcuff" her.

The problem with this Inquiry, said Jonathan Sumption in The Sunday Times , is that it "cannot decide whether it is there to learn lessons for the future or distribute blame for the past". Yes, it has revealed the "nastiness" of Johnson's circle, but the adversarial nature of the process (even some witnesses are lawyered up) is ill-suited to getting to the heart of a complex subject. Worse, it shows no sign of probing the fundamental question of whether the pandemic restrictions were worth the sacrifices they entailed: of the six modules announced so far, none directly addresses "the efficacy of lockdowns, masks, travel bans" and so on. The Inquiry must consider all of the pandemic's victims, said Camilla Cavendish in the FT : from children who missed school to patients who died from other causes because they avoided the NHS. The focus on the political "psychodrama" distracts from the main point of this expensive exercise.

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Teaching less attractive due to limited home working and flexibility, MPs told

home working uk covid

Teaching has become less attractive as there are limited opportunities for home working and the profession is not as “family-friendly as it one was”, MPs have heard.

Recruitment into teacher training is at “crisis levels” and teacher retention is “poor” in England, experts from think tanks have warned.

Addressing the education select committee, Philip Nye, a data scientist at the Institute for Government (IfG), said: “Teaching I think, historically, has been seen as quite family-friendly. You get the long summer break which if you have family responsibilities could be very useful.

“But now, perhaps compared to other non-public sector roles, it is not as flexible and family-friendly as it once was.”

Robin Walker, chair of the education committee, said he had heard anecdotally of supermarkets “offering term-time only” and school hours jobs.

He said: “(It) seems to be relatively new and creating a lot of tension, particularly for teaching assistants – for the people below the teacher level in schools – but actually that seems to be a big competitive pressure which people are really feeling.”

Dr Luke Sibieta, a research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), highlighted to MPs that more employees in the private sector have been allowed to work from home since the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “It makes teaching a bit less competitive because it can’t really offer that kind of work from home or flexible options.”

Addressing MPs on Tuesday, Dr Sibieta added: “Teacher recruitment and retention, I think to be blunt, is in quite a poor place in England at the moment.”

Figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) last December revealed that just 59% of its target for secondary subject trainees was reached in 2022-23, down from 79% in 2021-22.

Mr Nye told MPs: “It’s fair to say I think recruitment to ITT (initial teacher training) is at crisis levels.”

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NHS pay: Health staff win Covid bonus after legal action threat

  • Published 6 November
  • Coronavirus

Community health worker

The government has agreed to fund a one-off bonus for health workers who missed out previously because they worked for non-NHS organisations.

A payment of at least £1,655 was agreed as part of the NHS pay deal in England this year, to recognise the pressure of the Covid pandemic on staff.

But the BBC recently reported thousands of outsourced staff did not qualify and employers had launched legal action.

Their employers can now apply for funding to cover the payments.

It is estimated that up to 20,000 staff, including community nurses and physiotherapists, could benefit, but one health union has warned there are other staff on different contracts who still won't qualify.

Healthcare staff working for some charities, local authorities and social enterprises that provide services for the health service had been told they would not get the one-off payment of between £1,655 and £3,789, as they did not work directly for the NHS.

Social Enterprise UK, an industry body which represents 10,000 such workers, had described the decision as "an injustice" and threatened to take legal action against the government.

  • NHS pay deal made for one million staff
  • Some NHS staff to miss out on full pay deal
  • Health workers begin process of legal action over bonus

But the government has now announced it has "stepped in" to help independent healthcare organisations to give the bonus.

"This will ensure hardworking healthcare staff and the organisations they work for are not financially disadvantaged as a result of the NHS pay deal, and means they will receive their backlog bonus for their efforts during the pandemic," said Health Minister Will Quince.

He added that the additional funding would be provided "on this occasion" given the difficult economic context.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: "We're pleased to see the government acknowledge the critical role of social enterprises in the NHS family, with tens of thousands of staff delivering vital care across the country and services reinvesting profits to help local communities," he said.

Social Enterprise UK previously told the BBC it had started the process of applying for a judicial review, as it believed the arrangement was "completely unfair".

The decision to fund the bonus will only apply to non-NHS organisations. Some "bank" staff - who provide temporary cover for hospital trusts to fill rota gaps - have lobbied to be included in the scheme will not receive the payment.

Patricia Marquis, of the Royal College of Nursing, welcomed the announcement but added there was more work to be done.

"Unfortunately there are some nursing staff delivering NHS care who will not get this... The department must provide clarity on who will receive the funding."

She said nursing staff working in general practice should be given the full pay uplift funded by central government.

Unite's general secretary Sharon Graham added: "This is barely a sticking plaster from a government that has defunded the NHS to the point it is now on life support.

"Instead of doing the right thing and funding a lump sum payment for everyone who works in the NHS, it has instead created a multi-tier workforce."

The lump-sum award was announced earlier this year as part of a deal which included a 5% pay rise for more than a million NHS staff in England.

Separate pay deals were made for staff working in the NHS in Wales and Scotland.

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Covid strain that killed 8,000 cats found in UK. Here are the symptoms and warning signs to look out for

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A deadly and highly infectious strain of coronavirus that killed 8,000 cats in Cyprus has made its way to the UK, scientists have said.

A cat that was brought to the UK from the Mediterranean island was found to be infected, after it developed symptoms and was sent for tests and treatment by its owner.

The strain has been identified as a new hybrid of existing feline coronavirus and canine coronavirus and is called F-CoV-23, while it is not linked to Covid-19 .

Symptoms for the coronavirus include mild diarrheoa and lethargy, yet in the majority of cases cats display no symptoms at all, which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat.

However, one in 10 cases mutates into the virus feline infection peritonitis (FIP), which is often deadly and causes a loss of appetite, jaundice and anemia.

There is no evidence this disease can spread to humans and dogs (Nick Ansell/PA)

It is estimated that this new virus was responsible for an outbreak in Cyprus, although reports suggest that the number of killed cats could be more than 300,000.

In a desperate attempt to curb the outbreak, Cypriot officials authorised human Covid treatments on cats to be used in August.

However, scientists from the Royal Veterinary College, the University of Edinburgh and the Cypriot government found that the British case had the same “genetic fingerprint” as 91 of those in Cyprus.

In the study, which has been published before it has been peer-reviewed, the scientists warn there is a “significant risk” of the outbreak spreading further.

“This is exemplified by the recent confirmation of a first UK-imported case with further investigations into other cases ongoing,” they add.

It also found that the combination of canine and feline coronaviruses – which includes the cat virus gaining the dog pathogen’s spike protein – has led it to become more infectious.

Cats diagnosed with feline infection peritonitis, which is caused by the coronavirus, become lethargic, and commonly suffer from a fever, a swollen abdomen and inflammation.

It is almost always fatal unless treated, while a veterinary drug called GS-441524 can treat FIP effectively if given early but is currently expensive.

While they are effective, it is currently illegal for vets to use human Covid drugs, such as remdesivir and molnupiravir, to treat a cat with FIP in the UK.

Experts have said there is no evidence that dogs or humans can be infected, while there is no reason for worried cat owners to keep their pets inside and away from other animals at present.

Dr Alexandros Chardas, Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology, and Dr Sarah Tayler, Lecturer in Small Animal Internal Medicine, both at the Royal Veterinary College, told The Independent : “If the cat has not travelled to Cyprus or been in contact with other cats that have visited Cyprus, the risk is minimal.

“Given the low density of stray cats in the UK, the likelihood of FCoV-23 spreading is considered to be low. However, catteries, rehoming centres, pet hotels, and veterinary practices should remain vigilant and informed about this emerging virus.

“The cats develop the classic signs of FIP with enlarged abdomen and can also be off their food. Occasionally, they may display neurological clinical signs or experience difficulty breathing. In the presence of suspected clinical signs, owners are advised to promptly contact their veterinarian for assessment and guidance.”

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Kettering care home's treatment of patients during Covid 'shocking'

  • Published 20 hours ago

Temple Court care home

A report has described patients' treatment at a care home where 19 died during the Covid pandemic as "truly shocking".

Temple Court, in Kettering, Northants, was shut in May 2020 after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection raised serious concerns.

Care provider Amicura Limited was fined £120,000 in May after patients were "catastrophically let down".

A spokesman said it had "apologised unreservedly" to everyone affected.

Northamptonshire Safeguarding Adults Board has now concluded its own review into the home's failings.

It examined the circumstances surrounding the treatment of patients at Temple Court at the start of the pandemic.

The probe covered the period between January and May 2020, when 19 residents died.

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"Its significant deterioration during April/May 2020 was truly shocking and despite intervention and support from health colleagues, it failed to respond and recover," the report said.

"The oversight, governance and control by the service provider were absent. Residents within the care home were neglected and suffered significant harm as a result."

A total of 23 hospital patients were transferred into Temple Court between 19 March and 3 April 2020 amid a national effort to free up bed space in hospitals.

But the provider had not adequately assessed the risk of people living there and no manager or assistant manager was in place.

The CQC report , which followed an inspection in 2020, found residents were "subjected to degrading treatment" with one "covered in dried faeces" for hours.

'Awful situation'

The safeguarding board said it would meet health and social care agencies to ensure actions were in place to address its recommendations.

Its chairman David Watts said: "This was an awful situation for all concerned, particularly families who were separated from their loved ones, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to them.

"We're publishing the report into the care provided at Temple Court Care Home today and acknowledge that its contents are challenging regarding the activities of a number of organisations."

A Temple Court spokesperson said the care home suffered "failures of our systems and processes" at the start of the pandemic.

They said: "Following these events, we immediately set about learning lessons about what went wrong and committed to making significant improvements across the company to ensure that our residents are always safe, supported and well-cared for."

The spokesperson added many of the home's staff were "overwhelmed, exhausted and themselves ill with the virus".

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Do COVID-19 home remedies really work? Doctors weigh in on saltwater gargles, nasal rinses and more

Experts recommend always consulting with a health care provider before using a home remedy.

Florida's top health official does not recommend new COVID booster for under 65s

Florida's top health official does not recommend new COVID booster for under 65s

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo tells ‘Hannity’ that some studies show the vaccine can increase the risk of contracting COVID.

Dr. Mom may have been right: The simple home remedy of gargling with saltwater could help fight infection. 

Researchers found that patients with COVID-19 who gargled with saltwater and did nasal rinses had lower hospitalization rates compared to those who did not use the home remedy.

They presented the findings this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting in Anaheim, California .


"Saltwater gargling and nasal rinsing are cheap and widely available interventions that may reduce hospital admission among patients diagnosed with COVID-19," co-author Jimmy Espinoza, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, told Fox News Digital.

Sick woman hot tea

Medical experts shared their thoughts on some of the common home remedies that people use to fight COVID-19.  (iStock)

These remedies are not intended to replace conventional treatments, such as antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies, he added.

In light of the new findings, medical experts are sharing their thoughts on some of the common home remedies used to fight COVID-19. 

Rest, fluids and pain relievers

"Infected individuals who are more prone to COVID-19 complications — those who are older than 50, unvaccinated [or have] certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system — are more likely to additional treatment beyond just supportive care," Mark Fendrick, M.D., a general internist at the University of Michigan , told Fox News Digital in an email.


This care should include "proper fluid intake, rest and over-the-counter medications or home remedies to relieve symptoms such as fever, body aches, cough and sore throat," added Fendrick, who has also studied the common cold. 

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce fever or muscle aches, guaifenesin can decrease thick mucus, and dextromethorphan may help calm a dry cough, Christine Giordano, M.D., a practicing board-certified internist in Philadelphia , told Fox News Digital.

Nasal rinse

Researchers found that patients with COVID-19 who gargled with saltwater and did nasal rinses had lower hospitalization rates compared to those who did not use the home remedy. (iStock)

"Drinking hot tea with honey can soothe a sore throat and reduce cough, and taking a hot shower or using a humidifier can help loosen chest congestion," she added.

Even if symptoms are mild, Giordano said it’s always a good idea to talk to a health care provider.

"People with COVID-19 who are at increased risk for developing severe symptoms may benefit from treatment with an antiviral medication called Paxlovid, which is only available with a prescription," she said.

Fruits, vegetables and exercise

A 2022 study in Ghana on home remedies noted that some participants boiled neem leaves from the Azadirachta indica tree to drink as a warm remedy, or even bathed in them to help prevent COVID-19.

The leaves’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help inhibit the binding of the virus in the body's cells, the study explained.


Other participants used moringa leaves, taken in a drink or with cocoa powder and cinnamon, because they have been shown to disrupt the binding ability of the virus, the researchers added.

Experts have also pointed out the power of physical exercise , which is known to help decrease respiratory infections.

"Our evidence supports physical exercise, deliberate inclusion of fruits and vegetables in diets, and drinking of fruit juices or home-based juices as effective methods for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection," the study concluded.

heart shaped bowl with fruits and vegetables

Some experts suggest that the phytonutrients in vegetables and fruits support the immune system in fighting germs. (iStock)

Some experts suggest it is the phytonutrients in vegetables and fruits that support the immune system in fighting germs.

Individuals may find that various natural remedies decrease symptoms or prevent COVID-19, but these are only anecdotal reports unique to their own circumstances, Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital on Long Island, New York , told Fox News Digital.


He cautioned that these remedies don’t replace standard of care — and that more research is needed to determine their benefit; he also recommended checking with a health care provider before starting them. 

Saltwater gargles and nasal rinses

Between 2020 and 2022, researchers evaluated the severity of disease among individuals from 18 to 65 years of age who had COVID-19.

"Our study design was to randomly assign individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 infection to a low and high saltwater gargling regimen and saline nasal rinsing for 14 days," Espinoza told Fox News Digital.


The participants in both groups gargled with saltwater and performed saline nasal rinses four times a day for two weeks.

"The most important findings of our study are that there were not differences in the duration of symptoms, hospitalization rates , use of mechanical ventilator or death among patients who used a low-regimen or high-regimen dose of saltwater gargling and nasal rising for 14 days," Espinoza said.

Patient and doctor

Even if COVID symptoms are mild, doctors say it’s always a good idea to talk to a health care provider. (iStock)

"In addition to the information from these two groups, we had access to the clinical information of our reference population, which is composed of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 infection during the study period who did not use saltwater gargling or nasal rinsing."

Using this data, the researchers then compared hospitalization rates.

Hospital admissions among those who did the saline regimens were more than twice as high as those in the low-salt or high-salt regimens, Espinoza told Fox News Digital.


The study’s main limitation was that it was not designed to compare low- or high-saltwater regimens with the population who did not use the saline regimen.

"If our observations are confirmed by additional studies, it is possible that saltwater gargling and nasal rinsing may be complementary to other conventional treatments," Espinoza said.

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