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Taking Stock From the Lockdown Experience

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As the COVID-19 emergency wanes, employees are now physically returning to work full-time, but according to a recent survey by Allianz Hungária Zrt., roughly 77.4% of respondents said that based on the experience of recent months they had become used to working from home office, and in fact had come to prefer it.  

Only 26.9% of respondents said they feel more efficient in an office. More than half of the respondents in the survey positively indicated that they could sleep more in the morning and that they could spend more time with their families.

According to another survey from OTP Bank, some 34% of able-bodied workers went to work as normal during the coronavirus emergency, while nearly 60% performed their work duties from home.

The decision for employees to physically return to their workplaces is not only unfavorable for a majority of workers, but may also be counterintuitive for employers. According to a recent study by DEVELOR, the vast majority of companies they surveyed felt that employee engagement had increased while employees worked from home during the curfew period.

This is corroborated somewhat by research from Organizational Psychologist and executive transition coach Hajnalka Szirtes, who found that nearly a quarter (23%) of employees worked on average two hours more from home office than in the pre-virus period.

Valuable Learning

Regardless of their feelings on their current working environment, many Hungarians were able to take away a valuable learning experience from the situation over the past few months.

According to a recent study commissioned by OTP Bank, some 70% of respondents plan to set aside as much in savings or more in the coming months than they have so far, while only 7% feel unable to save at all in the future.

The financial stability of Hungarian households has significantly improved compared to the level of two years ago, and the number of those who consciously plan their finances has doubled, the Money Compass Foundation told state news agency MTI. According to the foundationʼs surveys, in 2018, barely half of households were able to cover a significant expenditure without external assistance, but in 2020, as many as 73% were able to.

According to a recent study performed by eNET on behalf of Magyar Telekom, spending more time together and rushing less are the two things that almost two-thirds of respondents would like to carry on to the post-virus period. More time for oneself and aiding others were also mentioned in the research by more than half of the respondents, and the study revealed that the role of cooperation and solidarity with each other has increased in the Hungarian population.

Hungarian companies largely share the optimism of the population. According to a survey of company executives from 24 European countries conducted by Intrum, Hungarian companies are more optimistic than the European average, with about half of them saying that there will be no recession this year.

These feelings are not unfounded, as the latest Eurostat statistics show that the unemployment rate in Hungary is one of the lowest in the EU. The fact that the number of registered jobseekers has been steadily declining for the four weeks in a row now would certainly lend itself to that argument, according to State Secretary for Economic Strategy and Regulation László György, of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology.

Perhaps the resilience of Hungarian companies can be demonstrated by the fact more than 10,000 companies registered in Hungary have annual net sales of more than HUF 1 billion, with almost 7,000 among them being purely domestic ventures, according to Opten.