The COVID-19 pandemic has begun a widespread trend of working from home - something that many people prefer instead of a more traditional approach to corporate life.
Although working from home may seem glamorous, a recent study finds that it is not ideal or even attainable for everyone. Daphna Aviram-Nitzan, director of the Center for Governance and the Economy at the Israel Democracy Institute said that according to their survey, working from home can be a "privilege."
“Some 47% of workers would like to work 2-3 days a week from home, while in practice only 15% currently do so,” Aviram-Nitzan said.
Since the pandemic, 35% of salaried employees work from home at least once a week. This number has shifted since the height of the pandemic, however, still remains significantly higher than before COVID-19.
Working from home has also sparked new challenges for people who find time management challenging. In 2016, only 23% of people had difficulty functioning at work while in 2023, 29% of people reported having difficulty. The study reports that this is likely due to “the shift to working from home”.
The general consensus of the study shows that older workers (ages 45-64) are more satisfied than younger workers (ages 25-44) with their work-life balance and self-employed workers are 6% more satisfied than salaried workers with their work-life balance. Over the last several years, including those before the pandemic, there has been an increase in satisfaction within a work-life balance.
The amount of time that people are working during weekends, vacation time and sick leave has also changed. 37% of workers work during sick leave, 28% work during vacation time and 21% work on weekends, at least one time per month. Since the pandemic, fewer people are working on sick leave and weekends.
The standard work week is 42 hours in Israel, but many would like to see a shift in that number. 67% of workers are in support of shortening the work week.
Salary is another aspect of work-life in Israel that is heavily valued. Roe Kenneth Portal, researcher at the Center for Governance and the Economy, says that workers value their income much more than any other aspect of their jobs.
“A higher proportion of salaried employees view pay as the most important characteristic of their job now than before the COVID pandemic,” Portal said. “Mainly at the expense of self-actualization and advancement prospects.”
Many aspects of a work-life balance continue to fluctuate amid a post-pandemic Israel and worldwide.