The number of professional men choosing to work from home has risen by nearly one-fifth in the past year.

The number of professional men choosing to work from home has risen by nearly one-fifth in the past year.

Researchers from the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) have found that the more senior someone is, the more likely they are to opt for "teleworking", where they are linked to work through a PC and spend at least one day a week working away from the office.

New technology and an increasing acceptance of flexible work patterns have led to the rise in people choosing to work from home, the researchers said. However, contrary to the popular belief that women are more likely to want to spend time working at home to fit in with looking after children, the study shows that nearly seven out of 10 teleworkers are men.

The findings, based on analysis of the latest Labour Force Survey figures, show that 250,000 British people became teleworkers last year, representing 5.5 per cent of the workforce. Teleworkers are more likely to be graduates, to be married and in their thirties or forties.

"With one British worker in 17 now using the new technology to work from home, teleworking is reaching critical mass," said Ursula Huws, an associate fellow of the IES.

"The time has come to think about the implications of this development for housing policy, transport policy, employment policy and the quality of individual working experience and family life. If it continues to expand in a piecemeal fashion there is a real danger of some sections of society being left out."

The study shows that although men represent only 56 per cent of the workforce, 69 per cent of teleworkers are men. Of all teleworkers, 27 per cent work in the business sector, and 25 per cent in the public and voluntary sectors.

Growth has been especially strong in the financial services sector, which has seen an increase of 34 per cent in teleworking in 12 months.

Most teleworkers are in senior jobs: 28 per cent are managers, 22 per cent are professionals and 18 per cent are in skilled and technicaloccupations.

Neil McLocklin, a 35-year-old manager with British Telecom, spends the majority of his week working from home. He is married with a five-year-old daughter and has been increasing the amount of time he spends working from home since she was born.

"I have the flexibility to manage the demands of work without office constraints," he said. "I also get more out of my personal life, like picking my daughter up from school at least once a week, which both she and I love," he said.