In the past week, a record number of people worked remotely in Sweden, anonymous operating data from Telia shows. Especially in Skåne, there is a drastic increase in home workers. “It sounds very good,” says state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell.
During week two (11–17 January), more people than ever since the beginning of the pandemic worked remotely in both Stockholm and Skåne. In the Västra Götaland region, there were only more people working remotely during week 15 last year.
In Stockholm it was 34 percent less and in Skåne it was 32 percent less at work compared to week ten 2020, which was the week before the pandemic began to change the Swedes’ behavior.
At the national level, the figure for week two was 32 percent, which is the same as the lowest figure in 2020 (which was noted in week 15).
The statistics are based on Telia’s analysis of anonymous operating data.
– It is not an exact measure whether you are at work or not, but it gives an indication of how the movement patterns have developed, says Kristofer Ågren, head of data analysis at Telia.
It is interesting to see how the telework has changed over the year, he says.
– This autumn we saw that more and more people started going back to work. Then something happened during the autumn holidays, when there were a lot of new recommendations and since then the covid situation has deteriorated and we see that more and more people work at home.
It now also looks like it will continue after Christmas.
– Now we have only looked at last week, so you have to be a little careful not to draw too big conclusions. Next week we can get confirmation if the low levels hold, but it is interesting to see that the trend is still downward, says Ågren.
Most clearly in Scania
The biggest difference is seen in Skåne, where the trend with fewer and fewer office workers is clearest.
– Now Skåne is almost at the same level as Stockholm, so there you are well below the level for how many people were at work in March-April.
It is only the three metropolitan regions that Telia has analyzed specifically, which means that there could be deviations in the downward trend in other regions.
However, it is now seen, unlike at the beginning of last year, that the behavior in the three metropolitan regions looks the same, where the three curves clearly follow each other.
– In the beginning, they behaved a little differently depending on which of the three regions they lived in, but since then it has become very similar, says Kristofer Ågren.
Anders Tegnell, the Swedish Public Health Agency’s state epidemiologist, who has previously expressed concern that Swedes have started working in the office to a greater extent, is pleased to hear that more people are working from home.
– It sounds very good, that it starts to turn in that direction again. It was especially during the autumn that many went back to the office, since then it has decreased, says Tegnell.
– It is great that we have had a real impact, it is probably partly behind the reduction we are seeing now.
FHM: Work at home if you can
An important part of reducing the spread of covid-19 is to work from home, and the Swedish Public Health Agency recommends that as many as possible do so.
For those who do not have the opportunity to do so, it is instead important to travel as safely as possible to and from work, FHM emphasizes, for example by avoiding public transport or other modes of transport where congestion can occur.
If you can not work from home, you can instead try to adapt your working hours so that you can avoid congestion in public transport and the workplace, the Public Health Agency thinks.
Those who are in the workplace should keep their distance from others at meetings, for example, in coffee rooms and changing rooms.
It is ultimately the employer who decides if and when homework can be allowed and what adjustments in working hours can be made. The employer also has the work environment responsibility for those who work at home.
The recommendation on homework from the Swedish Public Health Agency applies as long as the general guidelines apply, ie until the end of June 2021. However, this can be changed.
Source: Swedish Public Health Agency
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