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Home office is only a dream for 95 percent of Hungarians - research shows

Three quarters of employees consider work-life balance important. Overall, atypical forms of work are not widely available - only 5% of employees work in home office. There are also good examples and informal arrangements, according to labour market research by the Családbarát Magyarország Központ.

From last autumn to this spring, the Családbarát Magyarország Központ conducted a representative survey among employers and employees on the extent to which family-friendly organisation of work is present in everyday corporate life, and how widespread are the atypical forms of work that support it, such as flexible working hours, home office, fixed-term contracts and part-time work. 1,099 enterprises and 1,154 employees completed questionnaires and structured interviews were also carried out by the researchers.

What do employees think?

Part-time work (33%) is the most widespread among employees, followed by flexible working hours. However, only 8.5% of workers can choose when they start work. 41% indicated that they have the possibility to deduct overtime hours they have accumulated.

Approximately similar proportions of the sample were represented by those who decide for themselves when to take more than half (41%) or less than half (40%) of their days off. 13% of respondents have no such choice at all. The proportion of those with all day off was 6%.

The majority of workers (82%) said that their current job could not be done by teleworking or working from home. The proportion of respondents who answered 'partly' was 12%. This type of work was considered feasible by 7% of respondents.

Four out of five (73%) said it was important that employers made an effort to achieve a good work-life balance, but only 53% were satisfied with this, 42% said it "could be better".
95 percent of workers said they do not work in a home office, a drop to pre-Covid levels. 1.2% reported working 1-2 days a month, 2.5% reported working 1-2 days a week, while 1.1% reported working from home on a regular basis.

Childcare is not available at work for the majority of workers (86%). 10% indicated that they could (if needed) bring their child to work. Workplace nursery and day care are available to only 2.5% of respondents. No respondents selected the option of a crèche at work.

Around half of employees (54%) indicated that they are allowed to take care of their errands without taking leave. For a further 27%, the possibility of substituting and sharing tasks between colleagues helps to achieve a better work-life balance. The combined share of working from home and teleworking is less than 7%. It is also worth noting that for around a third of respondents (32%), none of the forms of employment and practices mentioned in the questionnaire are available.

How many hours a week do workers want to work? 38 hours instead of 40 

Employees would like to work 38 hours if they could choose the number of hours they work. Another consideration for respondents was that they need the income from work to maintain their household. It is also worth noting that the majority of respondents (79%) indicated 40 hours as their preferred working time.

What do employers think?

Let's see how much of atypical employment used by employers. Of the response options listed in the questionnaire, the highest number -  as in the employee questionnaire - of employers (34%) indicated part-time employment as an option,. 22% offer flexible working hours to their employees. A further 15% to 19% of respondents said they could offer simplified working arrangements or casual employment (17%), informal hours (17%), working from home (16%), fixed-term/project work (15%) and on-call work (15%).

However, the figures also show that the majority of employers prefer the traditional employment model. Atypical forms of employment are more likely among senior managers, executives and, to a lesser extent, among employees in the white-collar professions. The proportion of those who doubt that atypical forms can be introduced in their own company is above 50%. 

Informal arrangements are common: an hour is taken off the end of working time or an urgent matter is dealt with during working time, and the hours lost are made up by the workers.

Based on their personal impressions, what are the barriers to the wider uptake of atypical forms of work?" the researchers asked. The three most frequently cited reasons were: 1. it is specific to the sector (66%); 2. employees do not want it (14%); 3. it is an insoluble organisational problem for the employer (13%).

Few employers offer home office as an option. Where they do, the majority have positive experience. Among the benefits, companies highlighted time savings, increased employee satisfaction and reduced office costs. Barriers included management beliefs, data security, lack of digitalisation, mental health concerns (working alone without colleagues).

The original article can be found here.

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