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The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case NO-2020-12/1607 – measures in Norway

Use of home office in public and private companies

Bruk av hjemmekontor i offentlig og privat virksomhet

Country Norway , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 16 March 2020
Type Company practices
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Teleworking arrangements, remote working
Author Aasmund Arup Seip, FAFO and Eurofound
Case created 17 December 2020 (updated 19 February 2021)

Background information

Home office is an important measure to reduce contact between people both in the workplace and on the journey to and from work at public transport. Hence, in March 2020 national authorities and many local authorities strongly recommended use of home office when possible to reduce COVID-19 infection. Public and private companies largely followed the recommendations.

Content of measure

A survey conducted in the last three weeks of April 2020 measured the use of home office and the use of digital solutions in Norway during the first months of COVID-19 pandemic. The survey included 1000 people of which 670 were employed. The survey weighted age and geography to correct biases.

Approximately 80% of Norwegian employees have had their work situation significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers’ instructions to employees to work from home are the most common. 52 per cent of the employees reported that they were instructed to work from home. Just over a quarter have been given other work tasks, 20 per cent have had their working hours increased and just as many have had their working hours reduced.

During the second wave of COVID-19 in the autumn of 2020, the use of home office again became common after national authorities and many local authorities again strongly recommended it.

Use of measure

About half of the respondents worked from home offices in April 2020. The majority state that this mostly applies all week. A good number shared a home office with a spouse/cohabitant or other adults.

  • Most people worked from a room where they sat alone, but only 38% had an adapted home office. A minority shared work space with others in the household.
  • 30% of those who worked from home have children in primary school age at home, and the majority of these supervised the children and assisted with the school work. Women took greater responsibility than men, even when both parents worked from home.
  • Almost half of the respondents answer that they have worked away from home four days or more a week, while 11% have worked from home two to three days a week. Of those who responded in the survey, 38% state that they have not worked from home office.

Contents

  • Telework
  • Working time flexibility

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Local / regional government
Companies
Employees

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Company level

Involvement

Social partners have been consulted regularly during design and implementation of the measure.

Views and reactions

Home office or remote work has been widely discussed. Both employers and unions find positive and negative side effects when employees are instructed to work from home, but they agree that under the circumstances created by COVID-19 home office be used extensively.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Use of home office in public and private companies, case NO-2020-12/1607 (measures in Norway), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.