Almost half of civil servants now primarily work from home, shocking figures show.
More than 44 per cent of workers said their residence was their main place of work between January and March this year.
This is the highest proportion of employees predominantly working from home at any type of organisation, according to analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The figure has also risen since last summer, indicating a further shift towards flexible working among civil servants – known as ‘the blob’.
Ministers were urged last night to ‘show leadership’ and get Government workers back into the office, as experts warned that Britain’s productivity could fall if employees do not return to the workplace.
Almost half of civil servants now primarily work from home, shocking figures show
There are concerns that staff members – especially those early in their career – are losing vital social and relationship-building tools.
Conservative MP Sir Jake Berry said: ‘Britain has a big problem with productivity and I think the wholesale work from home culture is partially to blame.
‘It’s time for the Government to show leadership and get Whitehall civil servants back into the office.’
The practice of working from home has come under frequent attack as numerous Government departments have suffered delays in their services.
A National Audit Office report concluded that part of the reason hundreds of thousands of Britons endured travel chaos last year was because remote working contributed to a backlog of applications at the Passport Office.
Conservative MP and former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘Some of the most successful firms in the world such as Goldman Sachs are telling people to get back to work. They know how to be productive.
‘Lots of public services aren’t working and there are delays across a number of departments.
The British public are not getting the service they expect from the public sector, and this seems to correlate with working from home.
‘People in a shared workspace have an easier opportunity to make decisions and have discussions with the people they’re working with.
But I think it also provides better routine services for the customer who, in this case, is the British public.’
Conservative MP Sir Jake Berry (pictured) said Britain has a ‘big problem with productivity’
Separate figures from the Work From Home Map project, compiled by academics and labour analysis group Lightcast, show that the number of jobs advertised in the UK offering one or more days of remote working per week peaked at more than 18 per cent in December 2022.
This fell to around 16.7 per cent in the first four months of this year, but the proportion is still far higher than in the other major economies of America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Researcher Peter Lambert said it remains ‘a puzzle’ as to why the UK appears to have a much higher share than the other countries studied, including Australia, which has the next highest figure at 13 per cent.
He said it could be down to Britain’s extreme Covid lockdowns, as well as its high proportion of white-collar workers.
A report released last week by the Centre for Cities think tank warned that the economic impact of hybrid working is not yet fully understood.
Paul Swinney, its director of policy and research, said: ‘There are some disadvantages of flexible working that aren’t immediately obvious.
‘We think these will be a problem for the UK economy, productivity and people’s ability to earn more.
‘It feels as if some companies have become a bit louder in noticing the downsides of hybrid working.’
Jon Boys, senior labour market economist at the CIPD, said: ‘The civil service and central Government are a highly educated, London-centric and professionalised group.
‘Our research shows that these three factors are associated with the highest level of home working.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘This data is self-reported, and also includes people who work both in the office and at home.
‘The latest statistics for occupancy of departmental headquarters show more and more staff are in the office.
‘That said, we continue to work to boost office attendance even further to ensure buildings are being used, so we achieve maximum value for money for the taxpayer.’