MaltaToday Survey | Working and shopping from home is new reality for Maltese

Surveys shows that a quarter of people in the country are working from home, but 10.2% have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic 

A quarter of people are working from home, according to a MaltaToday survey that sheds light on lifestyle changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

But while some workers have managed to integrate their job with their daily home life, others were less lucky and have experienced redundancy. 

The survey found that 25.3% of people were working from home, 26.3% continued working at their usual workplace and 10.2% lost their job. Another 38.1% did not work. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of a number of businesses and caused financial disruption to others, necessitating stiff government support to avoid mass layoffs. Incomes have fallen for many workers, some have been laid off but others employed in certain sectors have continued operating as usual, possibly with some adjustments. 

Home working appeared to be more popular in the Northern and Northern Harbour regions. The phenomenon also prevailed among those aged 18 to 35 with almost half (49.3%) saying they were working from home. The balance shifted towards the ‘usual workplace’ for all other age groups. 

The survey showed that redundancies were highest in Gozo (14.6%) and the Southern Harbour region (16%). In other regions, redundancies ran into single digit figures. 

However, a more worrying prospect was that redundancies were highest within the 51-65 age group, where 16.9% said they lost their job. 

Redundancies appeared to hit Labour voters more than Nationalist voters, which is possibly a reflection of the socio-economic background of the respective voting base. 

While 5.8% of PN voters said, they were redundant, the number shot up to 19.2% among PL voters. 

Another glaring difference was the percentage of people who worked from home: 36.3% of PN voters and 15.5% of PL voters. 

Shopping 

But the change in lifestyle was not only confined to the work environment. The survey found that although 53% of people still went to buy the majority of their needs from shops, 19% opted for delivery through phone orders and 11% shopped online. Another 17%, mostly the elderly, sent someone else to shop for them. 

The young were more inclined to use delivery services (20% online and 21.1% phone), while the relative majority (46.5%) of those aged over 65 sent someone else to buy for them. 

Online shopping was the least attractive option for the elderly with only 4.7% saying that they utilised the internet to purchase their needs. 

But online shopping was more popular in Gozo where it was the second most popular method after actual visits to shops. In Gozo, 23.5% of people shopped online. 

Methodology 

The survey was carried out between Monday 6 April and Thursday 9 April 2020. 652 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on region, age and gender was used to replicate the Maltese demographic. The estimated margin of error is 5% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have larger margins of error.  

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