Spaniards improve their assessment of teleworking and would like to work remotely 3.8 days a week

MADRID, 18 Dic.

Spaniards improve their assessment of teleworking and would like to work remotely 3.8 days a week


Spaniards value their teleworking experience with 8.4 out of 10, compared to the 8.2 mark they gave last year, despite the fact that in 2022 the percentage of employed people who work remotely has decreased and, also, the number of days per week that they are allowed to carry out their work obligations without going to their jobs.

The percentage of employed people between the ages of 16 and 74 who teleworked in 2022 fell by 3.6 percentage points in one year, from 17.6% in 2021 to 14% today, the equivalent of 3.3 million workers, according to the Survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Households, published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Teleworking days per week also decreased in the last year. In 2021, the average was 3.5 days, while in 2022 it has gone to 3.1. The reduction contrasts with the aspirations of workers, who would like to work remotely an average of 3.8 days a week, according to the same survey.

The person in charge of Digitization of UGT, José Varela, considers this difference between the request for teleworking from employees and the reduction in days teleworking and busy teleworking to be "quite curious".

"One of the issues that is most commonly demanded when negotiating the agreement is the implementation of a regulated teleworking model, but, unfortunately, this is not being carried out. Employers are retracting wildly towards the physical presence, to return to the office", comments Varela, in statements to Europa Press.

From the business side, they also see "clearly that a gap is opening up", as the national director of Figures HR, Blandine Weill, points out. The person in charge of this 'startup' in the human resources sector in Spain acknowledges that teleworking "has become a social advantage" for employees, although, at the same time, companies find face-to-face "a way of sharing the company culture".

For his part, the founding partner of The Key Talent, José Luis Gugel, believes that "great efforts have been made by both parties in recent years" and maintains that "it is a mistake to impose a work model that does not justify better results and that also goes against what the workers are asking for.

"Productivity is not determined by being in person. You have to trust your employees and not treat them in a paternalistic way. The fact that an employee arrives first and leaves the office last does not mean that they are more dedicated to the company and be more efficient", Gugel pointed out to Europa Press.

The CCOO Secretary for Union Action and Employment, Mari Cruz Vicente, alludes to the new collective agreements that are being signed, in which "more and more people are being able to telework", combined with face-to-face work days.

Vicente observes that "two flows are taking place" in the evolution of teleworking after the pandemic, one of companies and workers who had to go to telework "as an exceptional adaptive strategy" due to the coronavirus and are now in the process of normalizing face-to-face, and another flow "from entering teleworking in a structural way".

The sources consulted by Europa Press agree that teleworking was implemented during the pandemic "out of obligation", without correct planning by companies and, in some cases, without a clear delimitation between work and disconnection.

Weill states that for some companies "teleworking has only been cyclical and temporary" and that, therefore, "there has been no adaptation in their organization or culture." "It is logical that these companies seek to return to their pre-crisis methods because they have not changed their internal culture," justifies the national director of Figures HR.

However, he assures that other companies have opted for "more structural and profound changes", which have served them to "establish a corporate culture more aligned with the current needs and values ​​of employees".

Varela, from UGT, also considers that companies and workers learned "very badly" what teleworking is, without taking into account the factors that shape this way of working.

"When they force us all to go home, many employers thought that the worker instead of working here (in the office) goes to work at home and that's it. That has led to a kind of virtual face-to-face, leaving the camera turned on to see if you are working. Then came the energy fashion, for a matter of energy saving, which does not work either. Another of the questions that businessmen use a lot is we are going to telework to reduce physical spaces and thus be able to get rid of associated costs with a building... It doesn't work either because you have to organize the work and plan," he stresses.

In his opinion, this lack of planning is also making companies "try not to negotiate" teleworking in collective agreements. "The most they usually go to is a maximum one-day commitment, not for everyone, on a temporary basis, as a pilot..." he adds.

From CCOO, Vicente adds that the union is trying to specify in collective bargaining the most important parts of the Telework Law "not for its regulation, but for its concretion".

"For example, the expenses caused by teleworking, which is a right. We have won a sentence in this regard. (...) The company has the obligation, by law, to establish an amount of money to address those expenses that are they generate from working at home, that employers sometimes misinterpret, they believe that collective bargaining has to regulate the right. The right exists and, through the agreement, that amount must be specified and there is an obligation to specify that amount", clarifies the secretary of Trade Union Action and Employment of CCOO.

CCOO and UGT also insist that teleworking should not be understood as another conciliation measure. Varela recalls that teleworking "is a model of work organization" and Vicente points out that the CCOO "absolutely" refused the Government's proposal to consider work as a conciliation measure in the Labor Law.

The INE Survey breaks down the results of teleworking by gender. Women teleworked an average of 3 days a week in 2022, compared to the 3.3 days that men worked remotely per week. They estimate the number of days a week they would like to work remotely at 3.6, while they raise the number of days to 3.9. The rating they give to teleworking is 8.3 in the case of women and 8.5 in that of men.

Despite the demands for teleworking by employees, neither unions nor companies believe that this is a determining factor when accepting or rejecting a job offer.

"Even though new factors are emerging, salary is still the most important factor," Weill says, although telecommuting "can tip the balance toward one offer or another," Gugel adds.

Vicente, from CCOO, also notes that workers continue to look at working conditions and wages, not just the flexibility of teleworking.

In the same way, Varela believes that teleworking can tip the balance "in similar salary offers", although he remembers that "teleworking is not everything". "We still do not pay mortgages saying that we telework," concludes the UGT digitization manager.