Papers of BAS. Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 8, 2021, No. 2

Sociological outlook towards ICT based telework in Bulgaria

before the COVID-19 pandemic

Elitsa Dimitrova, Tatyana Kotzeva, Natalia Vladimirovna Tonkikh

Abstract. The aim of the present study is to analyse the socio-demographic profile of persons under 45 years of age in Bulgaria who worked remotely with IT before the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to outline the specifics of this form of paid work related to work arrangements, health and safety at work as well as how work and personal/family life are reconciled. For the purposes of the analysis, we use data from the survey undertaken by Еurofound and entitled ‘European Working Conditions Survey’ 2015. The results from the descriptive statistical analysis show that out of all flexible forms of employment, remote work used to be the least spread across Bulgaria prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the group of respondents, aged up to 45, teleworking using IT was most of all applied by individuals of higher education levels, most commonly employed in the private sector. The analysis shows that there is a higher degree of satisfaction of this form of labour as well as a good level of reconciliation of professional, private and family life. Other specificities of IT teleworking refer to the flexible working hours, which however in a number of cases are accompanied by additional hours of labour. From a perspective of health and safety at work, the most common complaints and health problems that result from prolonged work hours with computers and electronic devices are sleep problems, headaches, eye pain, chronic fatigue and decreased physical activity. Ensuring health and safety at work and good level of reconciliation of professional, private and family life for teleworkers requires prevention of health risks and update of the regulations relevant to this increasingly widespread form of employment.

Keywords: telework, ICT, labour management, health and safety, work-life balance