As telework is likely to become more common than in the period previous to the #COVID19 pandemic, social partners will need to work together to create decent telework.
— International Labour Organization (@ilo) February 2, 2022
“The pandemic has led to a surge of teleworking, effectively changing the nature of work practically overnight for many workers”, said Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health.
Among the benefits, the report says, are an improved work–life balance; opportunities for flexible working hours and more physical activity; reduced traffic and commuting time; and a decrease in air pollution across urban areas.
These can all improve physical and mental health, and social wellbeing.
Moreover, teleworking can also lead to higher productivity and lower operating costs for many companies.
However, the report warns that without proper planning, organization and health and safety support, teleworking can lead to feelings of isolation, burnout, depression, eye strain, increased alcohol consumption and unhealthy weight gain.
“Which way the pendulum swings, depends entirely on whether governments, employers and workers, work together, and whether there are agile and inventive occupational health services to put in place policies and practices that benefit both workers and the work”, said Dr. Neira.
Settling into a ‘new normal’
As both companies and employees alike have experienced the benefits of home and hybrid work, the Director of ILO’s Governance and Tripartism Department, Vera Paquete-Perdigão, said that they are “here to stay and will likely increase after the pandemic”.