MORE than four million people now work from home after a huge increase in recent years, according to a study.

The TUC said the number of regular home workers had risen by more than half a million since 2007 and by 62,000 over the past year.

In Scotland 287,264 people work from home, equivalent to 11.4% of the working population. The number has grown by 48,457 since 2007.

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Staff demands for more flexible working and changes in technology have fuelled the trend, though the growth may be starting to tail off, the union organisation said.

The report, to mark national work from home day, said many employers were still afraid to allow staff to work away from the office.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Modern home-working is good for the economy as it increases productivity, helps businesses hold on to talented staff, and allows people with caring responsibilities or a disability to access the labour market.

"Despite all these benefits, many employers still don't trust their staff to work from home and force them to make unnecessary, time-consuming trips into the office so they can keep an eye on them. Employers need to take a more enlightened approach to home-working."

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, which campaigns for flexible working, said: "Many employers need to change their outdated attitudes to home-working and embrace new ways of working in the 21st century."

Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK where the number of home workers has fallen since the recession, the research showed.

The TUC added that around 650,000 people with a disability work from home.