Economics in a picture
Remote working and alternate presence schemes allowed firms to keep their staff working during the pandemic
In response to containment measures imposing social distancing and a general confinement, companies managed to adapt in order to continue operating. Remote working and alternate presence schemes were strategies that allowed firms to keep their staff effectively working while following the new safety rules.
According to the results from the Fast and Exceptional Enterprise Survey, between May and June 2020, 50% of firms had employees working remotely and 45% had workers alternating their presence in the companies’ premises, in most cases combining the two strategies simultaneously. Information and communication, Other services and Transportation and storage were the sectors with the highest shares of companies adopting these strategies. The ability to work remotely is inevitably limited by the production technology of each sector, which could explain why the share of firms adopting remote working is lower in Accommodation and food services, Wholesale and retail trade and Construction and real estate activities. Following the loosening of containment measures since May, the use of these working schemes waned. In fact, in the first half of July, 37% of firms had employees working remotely and 38% relied on alternate presence schemes.
For more details see Manteu, C., N. Monteiro and A. Sequeira (2020), “The short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Portuguese companies”, Occasional Paper No 3, Banco de Portugal.
Prepared by Cristina Manteu, Nuno Monteiro and Ana Sequeira. The analysis, opinions and results expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily coincide with those of Banco de Portugal or the Eurosystem.
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