Covid 19 is accelerating the adoption of new ways of working that could be beneficial to many workers and help solve some Israeli foes.
As companies and workers start to adjust to this new reality, expanding the possibilities of "Working From Home" seems the most logical way to go. Regardless of the virus, remote work has been rising in the world as new technologies made it easier for people to work together online. In Israel, this option is still minimal; less than 4% of workers have this flexibility, compared to 14% in the Netherlands, 13.3 % in Finland, 13.3%, and 9% in Austria.
This low adoption rate is due to existing labor agreements. High Tech, the less unionized and regulated sector, is offering most of the remote jobs. In other traditional industries, the phenomenon is minimal, and in the public sector, it is almost non-existent.
Remote work could substantially improve road congestion, housing cost, gender gap, and better employment opportunities for the periphery and secluded communities like the ultra-orthodox and Arabs.
Traffic jams cost Israeli workers two to four hours every day, leading to a significant loss in GDP. To minimize commuting costs, Israelis prefer to live close to their jobs, creating a strong demand for housing in the central region and Jerusalem. If workers had the option to work from home, some would choose to leave the main urban centers and settle in the periphery creating new and cheaper housing opportunities. The Israelis already living away from the economic centers, would have access to a broader labor market. Insular communities, mainly in the ultra-orthodox or Arab sector, will also benefit from more job opportunities without compromising their lifestyle.
Women will also benefit; according to Harvard economist Claudia Goldin, female workers earn more in companies with a more flexible environment requiring less face time hours in the office. Remote.co also found that companies with remote work arrangements are more likely to have women in management positions, and female CEO's. ( 19% compared to only 4% of companies in the S&P 500 index).
The reality of living in the time of the Corona may be the push needed to adopt reforms that will encourage "Working From Home" in the public and private sectors. The Treasury has expressed interest; it is now time for the unions to take into account that flexible work is good for the workers they are supposed to defend.