ONS say WFH Will Mean Workers Retire Older 

New poll weighs in on health benefits from remote working 

ONS say WFH Will Mean Workers Retire Older 

Last Edited: August 26, 2021

Carly Read

New research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has suggested workers will delay retirement if they continue to work remotely post-COVID.  

The study found that people in their 50s and 60s who were working from home during the pandemic were planning to retire later than those who were still commuting to their workplace. 

It could have a positive knock-on effect for those who can work remotely and boost the economy as the age at which a worker retires has implications for their financial security, the ONS said. 

They said: “In June and July 2020, older workers working entirely from home were more likely to say they planned to retire later than workers who didn’t work from home.  

“Older workers who left the labour market before the state pension age were more likely to have poorer health and no qualifications. These traits were also seen in workers who didn’t switch to working from home during the pandemic.  

“Working from home has not been possible for everybody. While it may help some older workers stay in the labour market for longer it may also highlight existing inequalities.” 

The poll also said that more than five per cent could be added to UK gross domestic product (GDP) if those aged 50 to 64 were employed at the same level as 35 to 49-year-olds. 

However, because working remotely isn’t possible for everyone, and the circumstances of those who are not able to do their jobs from home during the pandemic make them more likely to stop working early. 

They are more likely to come under certain criteria, for example, live in deprived areas, be in poor health, have lower or no qualifications, and experience lower wellbeing. 

If home-workers can stay in the labour market longer, it could entrench these inequalities, the ONS said. 

Despite this, remote working does offer huge benefits for the people who have jobs that allow it. 



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