The preliminary data from a study on the impact of COVID-19 on the way of teleworking in Spain shows great acceptance on behalf of those polled: 86% of workers would be willing to telework after the pandemic, at least one day a week. A percentage that reaches 18.6% among those who say they would do so five days a week.
The coordinator of this study, which is still in a preliminary stage, is Gabriela Ribes, professor of Company Organisation at the UPV. She explains that “the result of the first 500 surveys analysed reflects that many companies have suddenly plunged into a new working system. Telework forces us to familiarise ourselves with new technological tools and requires different organisation, which is why we see there are people who have to work longer hours to adapt, which 20% of people polled say they are doing during the COVID-19 situation more than five days a week.
Almost nine out of 10, teleworking
Of the 500 people polled – workers and managers of Spanish public and private organisations -, 72.8% never used to work from home before the pandemic.
During the state of alarm, this percentage has been reversed: 87% is teleworking. And this study reveals that the stress they have felt from the situation caused by the coronavirus has been greater than that of teleworking: 47% consider themselves quite or very stressed by COVID-19, whereas 25.6% say they feel quite a lot or a lot of stress for having to work from home.
And for almost half, it is tough to separate personal life from working life
The survey also asks about the main benefits and disadvantages of teleworking: the most noted benefit is the decrease in commuting expenses, followed by the conciliation of personal and working life, and flexible working hours.
Among the disadvantages, 72% of employees who telework highlight the scarcity of social relationships, and 42% stress the difficulty of separating personal life from working life.
Among the disadvantages, Gabriela Ribes also notes the decrease in the sense of belonging to the company: “In our culture, we value personal relationships very highly and the study reveals that companies must make an especially intense effort to increase social relationships among employees who are working at home if they wish to preserve their motivation and positive feelings of being part of a team.”
In this sense, she highlights the importance of developing technological tools that facilitate the transmission of values in order to preserve a solid corporate culture outside the office, improving internal communication and social relationships among employees.
Professor Ribes explains that now they will move on to the second part of the study, which will be conducted with more surveys and will include a statistical relational study: “There are issues we must look into further, such as quantifying to what extent people with children at home have had a more difficult experience with telework. We have verified that many organisations have made a great effort for their employees to work remotely: 46.4% of people polled have used their company’s technology, and a majority have been provided a computer.”
This study is part of Match COVID-19, an initiative for projects that provide solutions against the pandemic which the UPV takes part in, together with the rest of the public universities of the Valencian Community, FISABIO, La Fe Health Research Institute, INCLIVA and CSIC.