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Source: Our world in data

A man working from his home in Helsinki on 28 July 2020. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


THE MAJORITY of Finns have had enough of teleworking and are eager to return from their makeshift home offices to the hustle and bustle of the workplace, finds a survey by YLE.

YLE on Thursday revealed that 58 per cent of respondents said they would like to return to the workplace because the coronavirus situation has improved, whereas almost a quarter (23%) said they are reluctant to return to the workplace because of concerns about the epidemic.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of respondents chose not to comment on their feelings about the looming return to the workplace.

The Finnish government will lift its telework recommendation on Saturday, 1 August.

Tanja Luukkanen, a senior advisor for work environment and equality at Trade Union Pro, confirmed to the public broadcasting company that many employees are unsure whether it is safe to return to the workplace.

The return, she stressed, should therefore be planned in great detail – to the extent that the coronavirus-related hazards and risks are reviewed specifically for each employee and work station. It is also important to utilise the knowledge of employees when drafting the plan as they have the best understanding of what their work actually entails.

“It’s advisable to draw up a written action plan that lists in detail aspects that should be commented on and the course of action for certain situations. And it should be updated as necessary,” she said.

Over a half (56%) of respondents revealed they intend to work more remotely in future than before the state of emergency declared over the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March. The share signals a marked increase from the 27 per cent measured in April, suggesting that many employees have adapted to working from home.

“The shift to teleworking has been agile and painless at the majority of workplaces, but there have also been cases where we’ve been notified about an employer being reluctant to allow an employee to work remotely, even when the employee was a member of a risk group,” told Luukkanen.

YLE on Thursday also reminded that telework has not been an option for all employees, even though it may appear to be the case judging by the widespread public discussion. Nurses, teachers and bus drivers have had to face their patients, pupils and customers also during the coronavirus epidemic.

Over a quarter (26%) of respondents said they have worked completely and 14 per cent partly remotely in recent months. More than a third (36%) contrastively said teleworking is not an option for them.

The rest of the respondents said they are not in working life.

The survey also found considerable variation in attitudes toward teleworking: almost a half (48%) of respondents they would prefer to work remotely whenever possible, while 29 per cent said they would prefer to be at the workplace.

Jari Hakanen, a research professor at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, viewed that the responses reflect both an eagerness to return to the workplace and frustration with teleworking.

“This isn’t a yes-or-no question,” he stated to YLE. “People want to work more remotely, but on the other hand they miss a work community and workplace where they can exchange ideas and learn from each other.”

Taloustutkimus interviewed 1,447 people for the survey between 24 and 27 July.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT