The world is still trying to understand the impact that the covid-19 pandemic has had on all areas of life on the planet. The global confinement, without a doubt, disrupted social processes and, among them, that of work stands out. A large number of people had to adapt their house as a place of work; Others simply saw their work activities stopped. Also, of course, there were those who never stopped and stayed in their usual workplaces, such as health workers, service workers, food chains, among others. This situation has had consequences for both workers and employers. One of them is that it was found that many occupations could perfectly be carried out remotely. Some workers improved their performance, others decreased it. The definitive analysis is yet to be done. The truth is that teleworking is a phenomenon that may not be accidental, but has come to stay.
The pandemic was something like an accelerator of certain processes and trends that had already been developing in the previous decade. With the accelerated development of communication and information technologies, remote work has proven to be a very attractive alternative for many people on both sides of the employment relationship. According to data from the Pew Research Center, In the United States, almost 60% of workers whose jobs can be done remotely, today, in 2022, they are still working from home, even though the offices have already been reactivated. In Spain, to give another example, the situation is different. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics of that country, teleworking went from 8,3% before the pandemic to 19,1% during confinement. However, by 2022 the figure fell to 12,7% of the employed population. In other words, although teleworking has increased compared to its “pre-pandemic” levels, most of those who had to telework during the quarantine have already returned to the office.
In Latin America, according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank, “between 10% and 35% of workers in Latin America and the Caribbean joined telecommuting during the pandemic.” However, the same source maintains that 31 million jobs were lost in the region. This is a critical moment that is inserted in a situation of global economic recession, which will probably continue to generate changes in social relations, changes whose characteristics we are just beginning to identify.
That is why we found it interesting to make an approximation to the situation of teleworking in Venezuela. We asked our audience about their relationship with working "from home" during the pandemic, as well as their taste or preference with this type of experience. The questionnaire that we disseminated through our website and social networks included five questions: first, if they had to telecommute in a pandemic; then, to those who answered yes, if they have already returned to the office or stayed at home; then we ask everyone which modality they like the most; also if, since the pandemic, they stayed in the same job or changed for any reason; Finally, for those who decided to leave their jobs voluntarily, we asked what was the reason for doing so.
Between Monday June 27 and Thursday June 30, we got 1.360 responses and the results are as follows.
Not everyone comes back
It happened that exactly half of those who answered our survey, that is, 680 participants or 50% of the total, answered that they did have to telecommute during the covid-19 pandemic. The other half said no, that their job required them to be present on site.
However, of the people who said that they had to work from home, half (49,9%) affirm that at the present time they have already returned to do so in their respective offices. But 32,9% affirm that they definitely stayed working at home, even when they could return to their workspaces. This is a very interesting finding, since it is a substantial and permanent change, directly motivated by the covid-19 pandemic. The rest, that is, 17,2%, responded that they have not yet decided whether they have to return or not.
Another interesting finding is that, of the entire participating population, that is, those who teleworked and those who did not, 43,8% stated that they would prefer a "hybrid" work format, that is, some days working in the office and other days do it from home. 32,4% say that they like leaving the house and going to the workplace more, while 23,8% say directly that their thing is “home working”.
Half experienced changes
Now let's see what the impact of the pandemic was on people's employment situation. We have that 50,8% stayed in the same job they had before the arrival of covid-19. But things happened to the other half: 17,9% say they kept the job they had, but started an additional one; a similar group (17%) claim to have lost their job; and 14,3% state that they voluntarily left their job.
From here we can extract an interesting fact: 68,7% of people kept their jobs during the pandemic.
Finally, of the group that responded that they decided to leave their job during the pandemic, 40,5% affirm that they did so to dedicate themselves to the development of a business. A very similar group (40%) says that they changed to start another job and a fifth part, 19,5%, said that they decided to stop working to dedicate themselves to their home.
Although these data are not intended to be a faithful reflection of the reality of the Venezuelan population, they do represent an indication that an important part has experienced relevant changes in their vital dynamics since the pandemic that affected planet earth since 2020. There are signs that the preference for telecommuting in Venezuela is not close to the levels that it presents in the United States, but it could be higher than those of Spain, for example. And it is interesting that the option of working some days at home and others in the office (hybrid format) has had a level of preference close to half. And if we add to this group the almost 24% who definitely prefer to work at home, we have that sympathy for teleworking, or at least for more flexible alternatives to the traditional work regime, may have a sympathy close to two thirds of the population. It would be worth doing a larger study on this topic.