Workplace location and the quality of work: The case of urban-based workers in the UK

Research paper by Daniel Wheatley

Indexed on: 09 May '20Published on: 05 May '20Published in: Urban studies (Edinburgh, Scotland)


Urban Studies, Ahead of Print. Recent growth in flexible work which is detached from traditional urban workplaces, including homeworking, mobile working and forms of self-employment (gig work), has increased interest in the quality of work. This article compares job quality indicators between urban-based workers in standard (employer/business premises) and non-standard (homeworking, driving/travelling, mobile working) workplaces. Multinomial logistic regression is applied to UK panel data from four waves (2010–2011, 2012–2013, 2014–2015, 2016–2017) of the Understanding Society study. The analysis finds that urban-based employees working at home, predominantly in highly skilled occupations, have jobs which exhibit a number of characteristics of good work. Self-employed homeworkers, more often women, have lower job quality but leisure satisfaction benefits. Mobile working jobs offer greater spatial and temporal flexibility and job satisfaction, but also exhibit lower quality characteristics evident of trade-offs and divisions between forms of mobile work. Driving/travelling jobs exhibit lower job quality characteristics, especially among self-employed urban-based workers.