The adoption of remote work, in whole or in part, fell in 2022 with the easing of restrictions related to the pandemic, but it is far from returning to the levels seen before the health crisis.
FGV surveys show that the percentage of companies that adopt the home office system increased from 58% in 2021 to 33% in 2022 and that 34% of workers provide services remotely or in a hybrid way (semi-presencial) – up from 55% a year earlier .
Before the pandemic, about 7% of companies had employees working remotely.
The numbers are part of a study by researchers Stefano Pacini, Rodolpho Tobler and Viviane Seda Bittencourt based on business and consumer surveys by FGV Ibre (Brazilian Institute of Economics of the Getulio Vargas Foundation) in October 2021 and 2022.
According to those responsible for the surveys, companies expected, from the normalization of business, that the remote work model would decrease significantly, which actually did not happen.
“There was a very slow process of increasing the home office before the pandemic, which was accelerated. The trend now is to normalize close to what we have today. We are already experiencing a moment of few restrictions, and companies are also seeing what it is possible or not to do it remotely”, says Rodolpho Tobler, from FGV Ibre.
Industry is the sector with the highest percentage of companies with an employee who works remotely at least once a week, with 49% of companies adopting the system. In services, they are 40%. In retail and construction, the numbers hover around 10%.
In the information and communication services segment, the percentage reached 90% in 2021 and was at 74% in 2022. In services provided to families, those that most depend on face-to-face contact with the client, it fell from 37% to 13%.
Two-thirds of workers surveyed in consumer surveys work face-to-face every day. There are 20% in the fully remote system, while 14% practice hybrid work.
The average journey time for home office employees in the administrative area remained close to 3 days in 2021 and also in 2022. The perspective of the companies is that this result will remain in the future. In operational areas, it grew from 1.1 to 1.6 days a week.
A US Bureau of Statistics study showed that the share of people working remotely doubled every 15 years before the pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, the number quadrupled.
Productivity and benefits
According to FGV, there are differences between what employers and workers perceive as benefits of this system.
Companies with employees working from home report an average increase of 23% in productivity. Among workers, the majority (41%) consider themselves more productive or equally productive (38%) in remote work.
With the reduction in the percentage of companies that adopt the system, there was an improvement in the perception of this issue. In 2021, 22% of companies that adopted a home office observed an increase in productivity, and 19% pointed to a reduction. In 2022, the proportion of companies that noticed an increase in the productivity of their employees increased to 30%, while those that assess that there was a loss decreased to 10%.
Not wasting time commuting and more flexible hours are the two advantages most pointed out by respondents due to remote work. Half of the workers also mention issues such as cost reduction and increased quality of life. There are 4% who do not see positive points.
The home office is a predominant option for the highest salary categories, according to the survey. Remote work is currently an option for around 20% of workers earning up to R$4,800, 50% in the range above R$9,600 and 40% in the intermediate group.
Ibre researcher Viviane Seda Bittencourt says that remote work is still a challenge for small and medium-sized companies, which need a greater effort to incorporate technologies. Another restriction is the lack of rules in labor relations.
“A risk to the continuity of the home office is the issue of changes in the employment contract. Many companies have not yet adapted and may suffer later with lawsuits in court, due to a regime that is not regulated, is not backed by a contract right job”, he says.
A Datafolha survey carried out in December showed that, if they could choose a way of working, 24% of Brazilians would choose the remote model, working from home. Another 28% prefer the hybrid system, working both at home and at the company. There are still 45% who defend the journey only face-to-face.
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