How Working Home Changed Around the World

William Miller

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe. With the emergence of work-from-home opportunities, governments were quick to make changes to protect citizens and encourage remote workers. Because of this, governments were able to manage the mass shift to home-based work, even as the virus was suppressed. This pandemic reframed societal inequalities and transformed the way that people work.

Today, many large tech companies are promoting working from home, but most companies outside the tech sector are not quite so easy to convince. Though many have embraced the concept of remote working, most don’t have the resources to make the switch permanent. For example, health officials haven’t mandated any specific social-disabling protocols. Currently, about 25 percent of U.S. workers work from home on occasion, and 15 percent do so exclusively. However, the idea of working from home is deeply ingrained in the DNA of large tech companies.

The shift to telework has influenced some aspects of the workplace, but it has also left some things the same. For example, only 9% of employed adults find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives, while 64% are able to achieve this by working from home. This change has a profound impact on the workplace and society as a whole. When working from home, it is also easier to manage your time and your work life.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a shift in the way people work. Prior to the pandemic, only 24% of respondents worked mainly or always in the office, while 39% now work outside their homes. By 2025, employers predict that ten percent of the full-time workforce will work from home on five days of the week. This could translate into as many as 36.2 million Americans working from home by the year 2025.

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Although occasional teleworking is more common than regular telework, a significant proportion of employees in OECD countries reported that they had teleworked at least once in the past four weeks. In both Hungary and Germany, thirty percent of workers were able to telework at least once during the past year. The US also saw a considerable increase in teleworking, with fifteen percent of workers performing work from home on some days.

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