This page contains data and analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 23 to 27 March 2020. Go to our live page for the most up-to-date insights on COVID-19.

24 March 2020

Working from home

With everyone being asked to work from home where possible, we have published a summary of homeworking in the UK before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Working from home will be a new experience for many people, while others may lack the facility to do so. Of 32.6 million people in employment across the UK, only 8.7 million have ever worked from home in their current job. This is less than 30% of the workforce.

Homeworking is most common in the IT industry, where more than half of employees have previously worked from home. It is much less common in customer-facing industries, such as accommodation and food in which just 10% of employees have worked remotely.

24 March 2020


People aged 70 years and over are among those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, so we have mapped the population of England and Wales in this age bracket down to a neighbourhood level.

At a time when we are all being asked to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone outside our household, older people are likely to be reliant on their local communities for support. Use our interactive map to identify areas with the highest concentrations of over-70s and over-85s.

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While everyone aged 70 years and over is considered especially vulnerable to COVID-19, many are in good health and more than half a million are in a paid job. This represents 1.6% of all people aged 16 years and over in employment.

We had a look at which industries and occupations are most reliant on older workers. Agriculture comes out on top, with more than 1 in 10 (11.4%) workers in the crop and animal production and hunting industry aged 70 years or over.

User requested data

We have been responding to data requests from the public, media and the government during the current pandemic. Take a look at a list of our user requested data.

Recent requests for data cover topics such as unpaid carers, older people and their care needs, people living alone and numbers of food-related businesses. Some of the main insights include:

  • more than one-quarter (28%) of people aged 70 years and over in England receive some kind of help with getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering, shopping for groceries, taking medications, or doing work around the house or garden
  • almost two-thirds (66%) of unpaid carers are aged 50 years and over; more than one-quarter (28%) are aged over 65 years
  • more than half (52%) of all unpaid carers balance their caring responsibilities with a paid job
  • almost 3.3 million people aged 70 years and over lived alone in 2019, up by 21% in the last five years (2.7 million in 2014)
  • there are around 220,000 food and drink-related businesses in the UK; 140,000 (64%) of these are service-based (including restaurants, food stalls and event caterers)