Working from a distance is not a new phenomenon, although before the COVID-19 outbreak, there was clearly a wide gap between the number of people who could work from home, and the number who actually did so. In 2019, around one in twenty workers worked from home regularly. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic working from home has become the norm for millions of workers in the EU and worldwide. Nearly 40% of those currently working in the EU began to remote work fulltime as a result of the pandemic.
The outbreak of the pandemic has revealed large differences in the prevalence of remote work across EU Member States, sectors and occupations. In many EU countries, more than half of the workers who have started working from home since the pandemic had no prior experience with remote work.
Despite multiple challenges, it is evident – remote work is here to stay. The emerging evidence suggests that over the three-quarters of EU employees wish to continue working from home at least occasionally once the pandemic is over. Many employees attribute positive characteristics to remote work such as increased efficiency and a lower risk of burnout. The results also suggest that the overwhelming majority of the surveyed employees believe that remote work (85%) and digital conferencing (81%) are here to stay. However, the Covid Pandemic has also shown risks linked to remote work, such as increased isolation, lower levels of innovation and creativity, intensified workloads and longer working hours.
Furthermore, many employers were in favour of the remote or hybrid working arrangements a long time before the COVID-19 outbreak by emphasising the cost benefits of a remote workforce and we are sure to see more and more cases of remote work being imposed by employers as an excuse to cut jobs and pay, digitally off-shore and restructure on a large scale.
This joint UNI Europa / FES Webinar aimed to address the issue of remote work by looking beyond a simplistic discussion of the costs vs benefits. The key question was Who will be the real winners?
In addressing this question, the webinar focused on the workers’ rights by highlighting the gaps in existing legislations and calling for a new coherent legislative framework at the EU level.
Please register here.
Presentation of the Speakers:
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