Telework in the spread of COVID-19

Author: Toshihiro Okubo
Date: 2021/8/18
No: DP2021-015
JEL Classification codes: J50
Language: English
[ Abstract / Highlights ]

In the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), people have been requested to work from home with information and communication technology (ICT) tools, i.e. telework. This paper investigates which factors (infection of COVID-19, individual characteristics, task characteristics, working environments, and COVID-19 countermeasure policies) are associated with telework use in Japan. Using the unique panel survey on telework, we construct occupational indices for teleworkability and the risk exposure to infection. Our estimation finds that although telework use remains low in Japan, educated, high ICT-skilled, younger, and female workers who engage in less teamwork and less routine tasks tend to use telework. Working environments such as the richness of IT communication tools, digitalized offices, flexible-hour working systems, and company-wide reform for teleworking can all promote telework use.