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Yle survey: Most telecommuters glad to return to workplaces as guidelines change

Nearly six out of 10 people who have been doing remote work say they're happy to return to physical workplaces.

Many workers say they would like to retain the option of working from home at least occasionally. Image: Jarkko Riikonen / Yle

As of the beginning of August, the government is lifting its recommendation of remote work for as many employees as possible. Still, flexible work arrangements look set to remain as at least part-time options for many.

According to an Yle survey published on Thursday, nearly 60 percent of telecommuters say they are happy to return to their physical workplaces and considered that the coronavirus situation has improved.

However 23 percent said they were worried about returning to brick-and-mortar workplaces due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In the survey, carried out by Taloustutkimus, 56 percent of those who have worked remotely say they plan to do so more often in the future.

That share has more than doubled since a similar poll in April, when just 27 percent said so.

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Research Professor Jari Hakanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Image: Jari Kärkkäinen / Yle

Still, there are signs that people are tiring of telework and longing to rejoin a physical working community, said Research Professor Jari Hakanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

"This is not an either/or question, though. There is a desire to expand teleworking, but on the other hand people miss having a working community and a workplace where they can exchange ideas and learn from one another," Hakanen told Yle.

Less than half of jobs can be done remotely

Working from home is not possible for a majority of employees. Many jobs, ranging from cleaning to driving buses, nursing or waiting tables can not be done remotely.

According to a 2018 study, 57 percent of wage-earners in Finland said they had jobs that could not be done by telecommuting.

In the latest Yle survey, just 26 percent said they have been working completely at a distance since the pandemic began last spring, while 14 percent said they have partly done so.

Thirty-six percent said their work cannot be done from home, while the rest were not in the work force.

Taloustutkimus interviewed 1447 adults in Finland between 24 and 27 July via internet panels. The pollster says it weighted the results to correspond with national demographics and Finland's 3.2 million people of working age, and estimates the margin of error at 2.5-3 percentage points.