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Men telecommuting are more involved in household tasks and childcare

A research by IAE-CSIC and the University of Barcelona reveals that workers are ready to accept a reduction of up to 10% of their salary to work from home. The results also show that both men and women value telecommuting positively as it allows them to reconcile personal and family life.

The results also suggest that men who work from home are more involved in housework and childcare. Image: CSIC

The COVID-19 pandemic and its containment measures brought significant changes to the organization of work and family life. One prominent change was the widespread adoption of telecommuting, a practice that remains common. In 2022, 36% of workers telecommuted at least once a week, with this option being more prevalent among highly skilled workers and those living with a partner and dependent children.

A study conducted by the Institute of Economic Analysis (IAE-CSIC) and the University of Barcelona (UB) for the Social Observatory of the Fundació 'la Caixa' assessed workers' perceptions of the possibility of working from home. Through a survey of a sample of 4,000 people aged between 25 and 50, it was found that workers with the option to telecommute at least one day a week believe it improves their personal and family balance, saves them time and money, enhances their emotional well-being, increases productivity, and provides more time for hobbies.

The results also suggest that men who work from home are more involved in housework and childcare. While women generally contribute more to these tasks, their involvement is not significantly affected by their work practices. In contrast, 24% of surveyed men who telework at least one day a week claim to contribute more than their partners to childcare, compared to only 12% of those who do not telework. Similarly, around 30% of telecommuting men say they do more housework than their partners, whereas the figure is twelve percentage points lower for those working face-to-face.

Despite this observed increase, IAE researcher and study author Lídia Farré notes that this research cannot establish a causal relationship between telecommuting and men's involvement in domestic production. In other words, telecommuting may or may not encourage this increased involvement. Farré adds, 'Perhaps the men who telework were already engaged in these tasks before and continue to do so, but someone who was not involved does not necessarily become more engaged just be cause they telework.’

Preference for telecommuting, even if salary is lower

The survey in the study included a discrete choice experiment where respondents had to choose between two hypothetical job offers: one with the option to telecommute and another completely on-site but with a higher salary. The results show that workers are willing to give up to 10% of their salary for the opportunity to work from home.

Additionally, distances exceeding 30 minutes from the physical workplace significantly reduce the likelihood of workers accepting a job if they don't have the option to telecommute. "Working on-site implies expenses of time and money for transportation, dining... In the end, telecommuting is valued for allowing the investment of these resources in leisure or other activities," says Farré.

The researchers conclude that, for workers, being able to work from home is a valuable attribute. Therefore, even beyond the pandemic, employers should take this preference into account when designing job offers and organizational practices."

 

Reference article: 
Curull, M., Maynou, L., Farré L. (2024). Teletrabajo después de la pandemia. Análisis desde la perspectiva del trabajador. Observatorio Social Fundación la Caixa. https://elobservatoriosocial.fundacionlacaixa.org/es/-/teletrabajo-despues-pandemia

 Mireia Ayats / CSIC Comunicación