PARIS, Feb 8 — The organisational flexibility enabled by remote working has allowed many employees to reduce their travel time. The set-up has saved them, on average, 72 minutes per day, according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

To arrive at this estimate, European and North American researchers examined findings from two surveys of tens of thousands of workers from 27 countries.

They found that the widespread use of teleworking significantly altered their trips during the health crisis, especially those to and from work. For example, employees saved about two hours of commuting time per week by working from home, rather than from the office.

However, the results vary from country to country. The Chinese saved the most time in their daily lives by teleworking, with an average of 102 minutes saved.

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This is almost twice the time saved by the Serbians (51 minutes) and the Americans (55 minutes). The French managed to save 62 minutes by not going to work during the health crisis, while in Singapore the average time saved was 94 minutes and in Malaysia 69 minutes.

So what did employees do with this ‘time saving’? Many used it to get ahead at work. Some 40 per cent of respondents used this time saving to do more work either for their main employer or for a side job.

A third of them took advantage of it to indulge in various hobbies or to exercise, while 11 per cent devoted this time to their family.

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There are numerous indications that companies have a lot to gain from teleworking, even if some are still reluctant to implement the practice in the long term with an ILO report calling it “a ‘win-win’ for both employers and employees.

Meanwhile, a report from Institut Montaigne estimates that 48 per cent of the jobs in France are suitable for this mode of organisation. However, there are still major differences between sectors regarding the use of telework.

This is a source of frustration for many French employees, and could even be “generating a new divide between employees” in the future. In France and elsewhere. — ETX Studio