Data compiled by Eurostat for the past year show that 12.3% of people aged 20-64 in the European Union (EU) worked remotely permanently. In the past decade, this share has ranged around 5%, so the number of permanent remote workers has doubled. Over 20% of employees worked permanently in Finland, Luxembourg and Ireland last year. According to Eurostat's methodology, a permanent remote worker is one who worked remotely over half of the time in one month.
The latest data on the trends of remote work in Latvia are available in the Latvian labour force survey by the Central Statistical Bureau, but cannot be compared directly with Eurostat data due to the different methodology. The Latvian Labour Force Survey shows that in the first half of this year the proportion of regular remote workers already exceeded 20% of the total number of Latvian workers. In the second quarter of this year, 158 thousand people aged 15-74 or 21.3% of all labor force worked remotely permanently in Latvia.
Remote work in Latvia is more frequently chosen by younger workers. Information and communication services, as well as financial services, are strongly dominant among the sectors. There, in the second quarter of this year, more than 60% of employees worked remotely. The smallest share of remote workers – 10.7% – has been in the manufacturing sector, which is mainly due to the specific nature of the work of this sector, but the number of remote workers is also constantly increasing.
A number of experts point out that remote work is here to stay because it allows job productivity to be increased and costs reduced. If the work is not to be combined with the care of small children or there are no other interfering factors, the remote work allows employees to save the time that they otherwise spend commuting from home to work, more flexibility in planning the work schedule, reducing transport costs and pollution. Employers may, on the other hand, save for the costs of office rooms, as well as to extend the search for employees they need, because their place of residence is no longer a restrictive factor. Employees can choose a place of employment, either in another country, without travelling anywhere.