Unlike other restrictions, remote work will last until the pandemic ends — and even longer
Official survey says 11% of people in Spain currently work from home, up from 4% in pre-Covid times
Even as Catalonia prepares to lift several coronavirus restrictions with the end of the state of alarm, experts believe that remote work will remain in place for as long as the pandemic continues — and even longer.
"The same happens with the face mask: it’s a preventive measure that will continue to be in force until health authorities decide that the pandemic has ended," lawyer Pere Vidal told the Catalan News Agency.
While experts believe that companies will be inclined to resume work at the office once they deem it safe, in the long run, they will most likely move to partially remote working schedules.
Eventually, workers could spend between 20-60% of their working time at home, according to IESE Business School professor Mireia Las Heras.
However, unions warn that the actual percentage of people working remotely is lower than what many believe.
In Spain, only 4% of the population used to work from home before the pandemic, the number then rose to 20-30% during the peak months of the health crisis and has now stabilized around 11%, according to the latest survey by the National Institute of Statistics.
While some professionals are looking forward to going back to the office, others are wary of the risks this entails.
"People are worried, we have all kinds of cases: people who want to work again from the office because doing it remotely is hard for the lack of social contact, and also the opposite, people who don’t want to return because they’re afraid of contracting the virus," said a spokesperson for the CCOO trade union, Cristina Torre.
Public administrations are among the sectors where remote work has been more prevalent. While experts believe this has been positive for workers themselves, the impact on citizens’ access to the administration has been negative.
"Contact with public administrations is a right," says Joan Mauri, a Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Barcelona. He says that there are "loopholes" that "affect the most vulnerable people."