June 2020

IZA DP No. 13408: Working at Home in Greece: Unexplored Potential at Times of Social Distancing?

This paper investigates the incidence, trend and determinants of remote work in Greece. A crisis-stricken country in the years preceding the Covid-19 crisis, Greece entered the first wave of the public health shock as a laggard in digitalisation and remote work arrangements among European countries. While Covid-19 induced a spike in the use of remote work arrangements in many countries, this paper presents evidence that working from home (WfH) in Greece was subdued in the past decade. By analysing the profile of the job tasks and skill needs of Greek homeworkers, the paper also shows marked deviations in homeworking patterns and determinants in Greece, relative to other EU countries. This includes a higher prevalence of WfH among Greek females and non-nationals, limited use by young workers and families with children and a stronger relation with atypical work hours. While remote workers in Greece receive a 7% monthly wage premium, their jobs are found to involve standardised and moderate ICT tasks and to rely more on social serving tasks. The paper highlights that there is significant scope to enhance remote work in Greece, which can amount to up to 37% of all salaried jobs, subject to changing work organisation, norms and policies. In the coronavirus era, overcoming barriers to remote work will be key for the Greek labour market to adapt to social distances practices and digitalisation.