What are the challenges of remote working?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, remote working is booming in 2020, and reaching 41% of employees in May during the first confinement, according to Malakoff Humanis' 2021 annual Remote Work Barometer. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, remote working is booming in 2020, and reaching 41% of employees in May during the first confinement, according to Malakoff Humanis’ 2021 annual Remote Work  Barometer.

From the outset, it should be borne in mind that remote working refers to any form of work organization in which work that could also be carried out at the employer’s office is voluntarily carried out by an employee outside the office, using information and communication technologies.

The two lockdowns have profoundly changed the organization of companies. Managers have been forced to be agile, and employees have developed a form of resilience.

The promises of working from home are numerous. For companies, it is synonymous with flexibility in the organization of work and occupancy of premises; the prospect of reducing the number of square meters occupied is put forward by many companies.

However, it can also generate a certain number of psycho-social risks for the employee: loneliness, cognitive overload linked to too much information to process, inability to reconcile private life and professional life, increased sedentary lifestyle, etc.

These risks have been reinforced by the particular context of the pandemic and working from home. Discussions between the social partners therefore focus on the right of employees to work remotely, how to implement it and the means to supervise it.

It therefore seems more than necessary to provide fixed meeting times. Let’s take an example of organization often applied by multinationals: everyone gets together on Monday (or another fixed day of the week) for a practical kick-off meeting to take stock of the projects in progress and appointments to be scheduled.

During the rest of the week, employees work from home as much as possible.

Of course, you should always schedule a meeting in your calendar whenever you need to meet your colleagues. By the end of the week, you should have completed everything that was discussed at the kick-off meeting. The following Monday (or any other fixed day of the week), you get together again to take stock of your files and move forward with your projects.

The Labor Code does not set any criteria or specific conditions to determine the possibility or the advisability of implementing remote working in a company for the benefit of employees.

In theory, working from home concerns all professional categories.

However, it is not a right for the employee. Within the same company, it is possible that the profile of a position prevents the implementation of telecommuting while other positions benefit from it.

Thus, employers can decide to set up telecommuting only for certain categories of staff.

If an employer has the right to refuse remote working to an employee, even if it is set up within the structure, he nevertheless has the obligation to justify his response. Conversely, the refusal to accept a remote working position is not a reason for terminating an employment contract.

Uber and Microsoft have already announced the reopening of some offices while allowing their employees to still work from home. Google has indicated that it is studying the implementation of a “flexible work week” with three days at the office and the rest at home.

Facebook could allow half of its employees to work 100% remotely in the coming years. As for Twitter, all employees should be able to work remotely.

Collaborative work through platforms has developed significantly with the development of large-scale teleworking.

Indeed, a collaborative platform is the cornerstone of project management and collaborative work, it allows its deployment and expression.

A happy employee is a productive employee. In any case, this is what the Ipsos and KFE study revealed: 65% of employees believe that collaborative work improves team productivity. And a happy collaborative isn’t just someone who plays football during the break!

Happiness at work is achieved through other levers:

  1. More direct communication
  2. The development of horizontality
  3. The speed of information transmission
  4. Facilitated mobility

A real asset in agile project management, a collaborative tool indicates to the team any change that may occur: modification of the schedule, addition of new parts, monitoring of deadlines but also invoicing or even revision of the budget or actors.

Thus, managers and operational staff work on updated items as the project progresses.

The question of the sustainability of remote working after the pandemic has not yet been fully resolved. If we look at the US tech giants, which have long influenced work organizations around the world and were the first to introduce telework in the early hours of the pandemic, the consensus seems to be on a hybrid model.

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