Statistics Estonia: Remote working increased rapidly during covid-19 crisis

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Computer. Source: Bhikku Amitha/Pixabay

In the second quarter of the year nearly one-third of all people in employment in Estonia worked remotely, Statistics Estonia said on Wednesday. It is assumed more than 200,000 people are currently working remotely.

In the second quarter of the year (April, May and June) a record 198,700 people were working remotely, which fell to 135,000 in the third quarter (July, August, September) as a result of the temporary receding of the virus and easing of restrictions.

It can be presumed, however, that in light of the second wave of the virus the number of people working remotely will cross the 200,000 mark in the final quarter of the year. 

The most likely employees to engage in remote work during the first wave of the virus were residents of Tartu County, Hiiumaa and Harju County. At the bottom of the list were Ida-Viru County, Valga County and Pärnu County.

It appears from a labor force survey taken during the emergency situation that among job categories, top specialists were the most likely to make use of the opportunity to work remotely, with 67.9 percent of top specialists doing it. The ratio was 57.2 percent for managers, and significantly lower for intermediate level specialists with 41.5 percent and office workers with 25.8 percent.

By field of activity, information and communications topped the list with 82.4 percent, financial and insurance activities were in second place with 75.5 percent and professional, scientific and technical activities third with 68.7 percent. 

The increase in the ratio of remote workers was biggest in education - from 19.5 percent in 2019 to 56 percent during the first wave of the virus.

The labor force survey looks at two similar arrangements of work: remote working and home working. Internationally, home working can be compared, as not all European countries publish data about remote work.

Home working is different from remote work in that it means working from home as a planned arrangement of work. Remote work meanwhile stands for working outside the premises of the employer while being connected with the employer by means of IT and communications equipment.   

In Estonia, the ratio of employed people working at home has been stable at 5 to 7 percent. 

In 2019, 5.6 percent of people of ages 15-74 in employment in the European Union usually worked at home, compared with 7 percent in Estonia. The ratios of such people were highest in Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and lowest in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

Statistics Estonia is scheduled to publish data about remote working in the fourth quarter of 2020 in February of next year. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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