Working conditions

The rise in telework: Impact on working conditions and regulationsForthcoming

Report
Updated
30 Јуни 2022
Planned publication date
Декември 2022

лучни наоди

  • Telework is here to stay. New findings show 41.7 million employees teleworked across the EU in 2021, confirming the doubling of employees teleworking since 2019. While there was a small decline in 2022, this upward trend is set to resume as technological developments are increasing the number of teleworkable jobs and employee and employer’s preferences are leaning more towards remote working.
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  • Telework is here to stay. New findings show 41.7 million employees teleworked across the EU in 2021, confirming the doubling of employees teleworking since 2019. While there was a small decline in 2022, this upward trend is set to resume as technological developments are increasing the number of teleworkable jobs and employee and employer’s preferences are leaning more towards remote working.
  • The pandemic demonstrated the enormous potential of telework by improving workers’ living and working conditions, allowing them to balance their working time around their private and family life. Workers also experienced less commuting time and greater work autonomy and flexibility, without any negative impact on productivity in the workplace.
  • The prevalence of telework is not necessarily influenced by gender, even though slightly more women telework than men. However due to the persistent division of gender roles, there are differences in terms of work–life balance as women, especially during the pandemic, were more likely to bear the brunt of additional unpaid work and found it more difficult than men to balance telework with their private life.
  • Several countries in the EU have updated their regulation on telework, however, there is no one size fits all approach as EU Member States’ sectors and companies require different combinations of regulation, practices and work culture. This highlights how any future EU legislation will need to acknowledge existing country differences when facilitating the development of appropriate telework regulations at national level. Findings confirm the critical role of social dialogue in implementing telework regulations that protect working conditions and create positive outcomes for both employers and workers.
  • The rise in telework since the pandemic may have further exacerbated the wage and employment gap between high- and low-skilled workers as it took place mostly in better-paid, higher-level occupations, creating inequalities between workers who have access to telework and those who do not. As employees with access to telework can enjoy greater job security, better wages, and potentially more autonomy and better work–life balance, policymakers have an important role to play in ensuring a level playing field between those who can telework and those who cannot.
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Abstract

This report presents Eurofound’s research on telework during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. It explores changes in the incidence of telework, working conditions experienced by employees working from home and changes to regulations addressing issues related to this working arrangement. ThRead more

This report presents Eurofound’s research on telework during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. It explores changes in the incidence of telework, working conditions experienced by employees working from home and changes to regulations addressing issues related to this working arrangement. The findings reveal a rapid escalation of telework triggered by the pandemic: in 2021, 2 out of 10 European employees were teleworking – a figure that most likely would not have been reached before 2027 had the pandemic not occurred. The health crisis unleashed the social and technological potential for flexibility in terms of working time and place. The impacts of telework on working conditions were initially difficult to determine because it was difficult to disentangle them from pandemic-induced factors, such as lockdowns and school closures. However, both the positive impacts, such as the contribution of telework to improving work–life balance, and the negative impacts, such as reduced social interaction and an increase in overtime worked, have become more evident. The rise in telework and an awareness of its implications for working conditions have prompted a renewed focus on regulatory frameworks, with new telework regulations passed in several EU Member States.

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  • Report

    Number of pages: 
    86
    Reference no.: 
    EF22005
    ISBN: 
    978-92-897-2297-1
    Catalogue no.: 
    TJ-09-22-648-EN-N
    DOI: 
    10.2806/069206
    Catalogue info

    The rise in telework: Impact on working conditions and regulations

    Cite this publication: 

    Eurofound (2022), The rise in telework: Impact on working conditions and regulations, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

  • Working papers

  • Tables and graphs

    The report contains the following lists of tables and figures.

    List of tables

    Table 1: Frequency working with ICT from home and statistical sources
    Table 2: Share of teleworkable employment, 2020, EU27 (%)
    Table 3: Telework categories based on the EWCTS 2021
    Table 4: Share of employees with a poor work–life balance, by telework arrangement, gender and whether or not they have children, EU27 (%)
    Table 5: Telework regulation clusters
    Table 6: Changes in national regulations of telework
    Table 7: Main topics addressed in telework legislative reforms
    Table 8: Overview of national-level (cross-industry) collective agreements on telework

    List of figures

    Figure 1: Share of employees working from home, 2008–2021, EU27 (%)
    Figure 2: Simple projections of the share of employees working from home in a non-pandemic scenario, 2012–2035, EU27 (%)
    Figure 3: Share of employees working from home, 2019–2021, EU27 (%)
    Figure 4: Employees working from home by sex, 2021 (%) and 2019–2021 (percentage point change), EU27
    Figure 5: Employees working from home by sex and country, 2021, EU27 (%)
    Figure 6: Employees working from home by age, 2021 (%) and 2019–2021 (percentage point change), EU27
    Figure 7: Employees working from home by size of business, 2020 (%) and 2019–2020 (percentage point change), EU27
    Figure 8: Share of employees working from home by country, 2019–2021, EU27 (%)
    Figure 9: Share of employees working from home by settlement type, 2020 (%) and 2019–2020 (percentage point change), EU27
    Figure 10: Share of employees working from home by level of education, 2020 (%) and 2019–2020 (percentage point change), EU27
    Figure 11: Employees working from home by occupation, 2020 (%) and 2019–2020 (percentage point change), EU27
    Figure 12: Employees working from home by sector, 2020 (%) and 2019–2020 (percentage point change), EU27
    Figure 13: Share of employees in teleworkable employment by sex and country, 2020, EU27 (%)
    Figure 14: Average wage levels by degree of teleworkability and sex, 2018 (average wage levels in 2018 are equal to 100), EU27
    Figure 15: Absolute change (thousands) in employment levels by occupations’ degree of teleworkability and sex, 2018–2019 (a) and 2019–2020 (b), EU27
    Figure 16: Share of full-time employees working long (weekly) hours by telework arrangement, 2021, EU27 (%)
    Figure 17: Share of full-time employees working overtime, working during their free time and working more than 40 hours per week by telework arrangement (%)
    Figure 18: Share of employees in telework arrangements (full-time and partial telework) working overtime compared with the national average of all workers, 2021 (%)
    Figure 19: Share of teleworking employees with a poor work–life balance compared with the national average of all workers, EU27 (%)
    Figure 20: Share of employees with a poor work–life balance by gender and telework arrangement, EU27 (%)
    Figure 21: Share of employees feeling too tired after work to do some of the household jobs that need to be done by telework arrangement, EU27 (%)
    Figure 22: Share of employees finding it difficult to concentrate on their job because of family responsibilities, EU27 (%)
    Figure 23: Share of employees reporting headaches and eyestrain by telework arrangement, EU27 (%)
    Figure 24: Share of teleworkers experiencing anxiety, compared with teleworkers and the national average of all workers, 2020–2021 (%)
    Figure 25: Employees’ well-being score (out of 100) by telework arrangement, 2021, EU27
    Figure 26: Regulatory sources of telework in the EU countries
    Figure 27: Number of sectors covered by sectoral agreements with telework provisions by selected Member States, 2021

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Research carried out prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, and published subsequently, may include data relating to the 28 EU Member States. Following this date, research only takes into account the 27 EU Member States (EU28 minus the UK), unless specified otherwise.

Part of the series

  • COVID-19

    Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, launched in April 2020, with five rounds completed at different stages during 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.

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