News PT

Telework – Is it a Yes answer?! In what context?…

27 September, 2021

It was on March 2, 2020 that the first positive case of infection by SARS-CoV-2 was registered in Portugal. On March 18, the President of the Republic decreed a state of emergency in Portugal, given the exceptional situation of public health worldwide and the proliferation of registered cases of contagion by COVID-19. Three months later, in June, the new coronavirus had already infected 0.32% of the Portuguese population. We were forced and we found ourselves restricted, closed at home, respecting the confinements decreed in the last year and a half in Portugal. Other countries, the world in general, were forced to take similar measures to avoid and minimize contagion. An authentic LOCKDOWN, an expression widely used by everyone, from 6 to 100, from north to south.

A new reality, a new way of being, a new opportunity, a new mentality (is it?!) – The “tele mode”.

Nevertheless, there are many professions and professionals who had to continue with their daily routines, without the possibility of Telework, so that the country and the world would not stop. We speak, as an example, of the Logistics and Distribution of products in the food sector; Public or Private Services and in the area of ​​Health; Social Communication; Telecommunications; Transportation; even the simple gas pump used to get us moving. Worldwide, all these people who helped us, and whom we continue to recognize and thank, had to be extra careful to avoid any kind of contagion, minimizing the risk of propagation in the physical spaces of companies and in their homes and family core.

The need for containment to avoid contagion in work areas in closed spaces, reducing the number of workers physically present, forcing the carrying out of shifts, alternating days when traveling to companies, led the President of the Republic and the Portuguese Government to deliberate new measures such as the obligation to work from home whenever possible. This contingency situation will be in effect at least until 23:59 hours of September 30, 2021.

A difficult measure to say the least for the sake of a greater good: “Stay Safe While Working From Home”.

Making use of existing knowledge and technology, turning it more accessible, favouring the digital, people and companies learned and improved. It was realized that we could speak at a distance, in many cases with more success and continue to provide the company services to our customers – we too created our motto: At a distance, but close.

Measures like this became viral in our daily lives, indirectly not only as a working tool to conveniently develop daily tasks, which will be predominant from this century on. Most companies are committed to improve their digital tools and the flexibility of their resources and are already aware of what is about to come in the next years. Currently, achieving full motivation of an employee for the good development of their daily tasks, and at a distance, is the main objective. Not only does the remuneration factor count, from the perspective of maintaining all the rights, but also the spirit of belonging to a certain brand, to a certain project. It is necessary to outline human resources and communication strategies, betting on a model of hybrid possibilities, a kind of “emotional salary” that adds to the “traditional salary” and which in the end can add to productivity.

Large brands went public announcing that they “shortened” the work week to 3 or 4 days, others kept the 5 days, but with the possibility of some being teleworking. There are several models and studies that seem to indicate that, in the end, nothing remained to be done and that, in some sectors, even more was done. Why? Because individually everyone has a better quality of life, feeling more important. “João” is already able to pick up his son from school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, “Miguel” goes to the gym more often, “Luisa” is happier, calmer and little “Alice” has gained a better quality of life. And today’s little Alice will be tomorrow’s Miguel, João and Luisa!

There is still a lot to analyse, to discover, and we will certainly return to the topic, as figures involved in this entire everyday soap opera. At a time when the country is experiencing more deconfinement measures, we feel the return to offices, but we also feel that many will want to continue working from home, either every day or in a hybrid regime. It is therefore important to talk about rules, duties and rights, about the law, more precisely about regulation. Some proposals for regulation of teleworking were presented in the Assembly of the Republic on September 17th and will be discussed in the week of October 4th. This request for analysis and regulation opens the way for the approval of a new legal framework for telework.

According to data published this Thursday by Eurostat, on average, in the European Union, 12% of workers were teleworking in 2020. In the capitals of the Member States, the remote modality had a greater presence: the most significant rises in share of the population employed in telework was recorded in Brussels, Walloon Brabant and Helsinki. “These regions are followed by the capitals of Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Portugal”, highlights the statistics company. In contrast, working from home was less common in the Eastern and Southern regions of the European Union.

Nowadays teleworking is still recommended, whenever the functions are compatible. We await news in this area, both at the legislative level and at the social and corporate level. Until then, we offer and welcome the principle of change, when resulting in a perspective of improvement and learning.

The information provided in this information note is provided in a general and abstract manner, not substituting the use of appropriate legal advice for the resolution of specific cases. If you want additional clarification, please contact us using the available means.

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