Telework backs off and reference to Covid-19 to justify it too

Internet access at home continues to expand. Today, 87.3% of Portuguese families have broadband internet access at home, which means that eight out of ten Portuguese (82.3%) use internet. Internet access numbers support the proportion of people who work from home, which is currently lower than a year ago, and the reference to Covid-19 as a justification for telecommuting is no longer so high.

The conclusions are from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in the “inquiry on the use of information and communication technologies in families”, disclosed this Monday. Still trying to get out of the pandemic context, and at a time when the discussion of telework is returning because of the increase in cases, in Portugal – says the INE – “the proportion of workers working from home has decreased” and also the reference to Covid-19 to justify it.

Thus, in 2021, 20.1% of workers were teleworking when a year ago the proportion was 31.1% (-11 percentage points). At the same time, only 17.5% today justify teleworking with the pandemic, when a year ago this proportion was 29.6% (-12.1 percentage points).

“The proportion of employed internet users who worked from home during the collection period [do inquérito, entre 9 de junho a 3 de setembro] decreased compared to the previous year: 21.9% always or almost always worked at home in the month prior to the interview (in 2020 it was 33.1%), and 20.1% worked at home using information technology and communication (ICT), namely with the use of a computer and/or smartphone (in 2020 there were 31.1%)”, it reads.

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“In 2021, the reference to the Covid-19 pandemic as a justification for working from home is only made by 17.5% of internet users with jobs”, adds the national statistics office.

It is in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area that the percentage of people employed in remote work is highest (34.6%), although the proportion has dropped 8.6 percentage points compared to 2020. “In the remaining regions, the percentage of people in teleworking it is lower in the autonomous regions (10% in Madeira and 11.9% in the Azores)”, it reads. The Centro, Algarve, Madeira and Azores regions were where “the proportions of people in teleworking were reduced”.

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