Teleworking with our European neighbors

If you’re following the news, you must have thought about it. The fight against COVID 19 is no longer unanimous. The idea of a second generalized lockdown seems out of the question to public opinion at this time. So, while the government has already recognized that second wave is here, it continues to blunder its way ahead. Notably on teleworking, a subject on which no binding legislation has yet been put in place. Much to the chagrin of some. What about our European neighbors? How do they manage this risk of a return to widespread teleworking? Overview of the old continent, a large-scale barometer of the quality of life at work.

Spain has legislated

It is the first European country to have legislated on remote working. Because he was also the one to suffer the most. Employees complained in particular of the lack of separation between personal and professional life. A law regulating teleworking, a practice that exploded in the land of Cervantes, was passed in September. It forces companies to bear the costs of “equipment, tools and consumption linked to the conduct of its business”. The definition of fees is relatively broad. It includes all bills (electricity, internet and telephone) but also furniture. The law also stipulates that the refusal to telework will not be valid as a reason for dismissal for the employee.

Germany is about to do it

In Germany, the problems associated with working from home are similar to Spain. A law governing the practice will be presented to the Bundestag in the coming weeks. It tends to “strengthen workers’ rights and to delimit more clearly the increasingly blurred boundaries between personal life and work” explains Hubertus Heil, Minister of Labor.

The United Kingdom, a French inaction

Our English neighbors have so far taken a position quite similar to ours. No law, only an invitation to companies to practice telework when possible. The government is simply thinking of introducing tax deductions on work equipment purchased during the pandemic.

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In Italy, only civil servants work from home

Although the country is one of the most affected in the world by COVID 19, no legislation governing the practice has been put in place. The government is only thinking of increasing the number of civil servants teleworking from 50 to 70% in the coming weeks. It obviously encourages the private sector to do the same.

The Netherlands were already teleworking

Like the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands is ahead on issues of quality of life at work. Before the pandemic, 1 in 6 employees was already working outside the office. That is twice as much as in France. Teleworking and especially the necessary infrastructures are already in place in most companies. An advance which can in particular be explained by the following factors:

  • Widespread access to broadband Internet: 98% of Dutch people have access to an Internet of sufficient quality to carry out their professional activity.
  • A culture of trust: which facilitates the management of teleworking. The country is number 1 in the work-life balance ranking.
  • Better quality accommodation: it is obviously easier to work at home when you have comfortable accommodation. This is the case for the Dutch, the result of ambitious public housing policies.

The laws on teleworking mainly reflect social situations as well as the quality of life at work. Europeans are different from each other, but that’s what makes them so charming, right?

Source OECD.org, Financial Times, Les Echos