Will it stay or will it go? Analysing developments in telework during COVID-19 using
online job postings data
The COVID-19 crisis has triggered a major shift towards telework and virtual interactions.
This paper uses information on job postings from the online job site Indeed to analyse
developments in the adoption of telework across 20 countries. It finds, first, that
the incidence of advertised telework almost tripled during the pandemic, albeit with
large differences both across sectors and across countries. Second, cross-country
differences are to a notable extent explained by differences in the extent to which
governments restricted mobility during the pandemic. However, while the tightening
of restrictions substantially raises advertised telework, their easing only modestly
reverses the increase. Third, digital preparedness plays an important role in mediating
the response of advertised telework to changes in restrictions. The tightening of
restrictions has particularly large effects in sectors that are better prepared to
adopt digital business models, while their easing has almost no effect in countries
with high-quality digital infrastructure. Overall, these results suggest that telework
is here to stay, especially in countries with high levels of digital preparedness.
Public policies will need to adapt to reap the potential benefits for productivity
and worker well-being.