I want and I can not telecommuting

I want and I can not telecommuting


When telecommuting takes a long time to take off in Spain. And that is a model much desired by many workers. In fact, a study by the consultancy Randstad reveals that 68.6% of Spanish employees want to telecommute, but can not because their company does not allow it, a demand that is requested mostly by people between 25 and 45 years old. These longings are truncated by the existence of a face-to-face culture still very rooted in the companies and in the heads and managers. That's why our country is in the queue in Europe in the implementation of this formula. According to data from Adecco, in 2017, 1.43 million people worked from home at least occasionally (in 2005 there were 808,000). It represents 7.4% of the total number of employed persons. This figure is very far from countries where this modality has been consolidated for years, such as Denmark (37%), the Netherlands (30%) and the United Kingdom (26%), with data from 2015 of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).

However, telework progresses slowly every year. During the crisis it was an option to save costs: the company spent less on electricity and telephone and the worker on transport. Nowadays one of every 14 employed works, at least occasionally from home. They could be more, but "Spain is a country of SMEs and micro-SMEs and it is very complicated because people know about their sector and not so much about being a boss, they are not as professional as a manager. In these cases, labor relations are very based on direct contact, on doing it together, "he explains. Eva Rimbau, Professor of Economics and Business Studies at the Universitat Oberta de Cataluyna (UOC). However, now also start to emerge companies that carry the telework in their own DNA, «Virtual companies that have everyone distributed. Even if they decide to have an office one day, they will still be intensive in teleworking, "says the teacher.

Work for objectives

For this option to take off, a great cultural change is necessary in all the organizations, even in the big ones because "still the middle managers and managers still need to perform a direct control of the worker", explains Aránzazu de las Heras, PhD in Labor Law and president of the Distance University of Madrid (UDIMA). «We must value the work by objectives and trust the worker, regardless of the size of the company. There is a false belief that an employee who works from home is less productive because he works less because he is alone and does not have the boss on top, "he adds. Natalia March, Director of Operations of Lee Hecht Harrison Spain. "It is necessary to define work more as an activity than as a place", defends Professor Rimbau.

«We must value work for objectives and trust in the worker»

While this great cultural change comes, perhaps we will have to start by defining what teleworking is and providing it with a regulation, De las Heras understands. Since 2012, Article 13 of the Workers' Statute contains "Work at a distance", "But it is quite vague and insufficient," complains De las Heras. It does not talk about such basic issues as where the work will be done, or how the expenses of the home will be paid for performing those tasks, or how to ensure compliance with the regulations for the prevention of occupational risks (ventilation, lighting, space). .

The lack of a more specific regulation is another obstacle that prevents progress to teleworking, a modality that currently collect some collective agreements (more detailed in some than in others) and is formalized in an annex to the employment contract or in the own contract, if you start working in a company.

However, neither all the tasks nor all the positions are likely to be carried out from home because many require the physical presence of the employee. Activities related to "processing data, making reports, thinking ideas, With the knowledge, they can be done in telecommuting mode, Rimbau says. For example, the banking and insurance sector, lawyers, a very important part of the tasks of professors outside the classroom, economists, the tasks of management and administration of any company … ».

Working from home or from another place, but not in the workplace, is not as simple as it seems at first sight. First, the development of these tasks must be well tied. "Teleworking," De las Heras explains, "is not to finish tasks at the home that did not give time during the workday, nor is it to work in pajamas. For teleworking to exist, a system is needed in which the provision in the home has a certain duration, there has to be an agreement between the parties about what will be developed at home and for how long, and in addition, this agreement must be collected in a written document. It would also be necessary to add a section so that the work is organized by short and long term objectives ». But in addition to the legal part, teleworking demands a lot of self-discipline. "Have a place, know how to distribute time, be autonomous in your tasks, know how to cut the day …", concrete De las Heras.

The benefits

The experts recognize the benefits of this system. Well regulated and structured, teleworking gets more efficient employees. For the company, "It reduces costs, especially in infrastructure, improves productivity and reduces absenteeism. And the company becomes more organized because it has to do more long-term planning, "says De las Heras. For the employee, it allows them to reconcile their work, personal and family life and «save time by eliminating travel. In many cases, the worker adapts working time to his interests and needs, "he adds.

For many it is a conciliation strategy, for others it is "a more peaceful and comfortable way of working," says Rimbau. And everything has its risks. Crossing the border of solitude is dangerous. «Complications can arise from a couple of days a week of work at home. It is demonstrated that the complicity established with colleagues is important and helps us to do a better job. If it is lost, it can influence the well-being of people. There are also physical risks: inadequate posture, poor light … And in a workplace, companies are obliged to comply with occupational risk regulations ", says the professor. Therefore, there are many experts who propose combining work at home and in the center of the company as the best option.

The Repsol model

Repsol was one of the pioneering organizations in taking teleworking to its employees, a bet that was launched in 2008 with a pilot project in a small area of ​​Marketing. Such was the success that, at the close of 2018, there are already 2,146 people of the company in Spain who have opted for this option, around 12% of the workforce. And 35% are men. «It is a cultural evolution that tries to overcome the presence. Now it's a consolidated program throughout the company. We even made a white paper with recommendations for other companies, "he says. Gloria Iglesias, Manager of Diversity and Conciliation of Repsol.

The program has five modalities of teleworking: one, two or three days per week, or 20% of the daily maximum time, or two evenings a week and Friday. «It is a tool that makes time management more flexible and allows self-management. We have achieved greater efficiency of the worker and consequently of the company, "explains Iglesias.

It is aimed at employees with positions that do not require physical presence, it is a voluntary and reversible option at any time at the request of the company or the employee. Although, «now The challenge is to provide teleworking with greater flexibility. We want to allow employees to manage time more efficiently, so they are more productive and the company too, "says Iglesias.

Everything has been possible to implement a culture of work by objectives. "The tendency we see is not only that the results are maintained, but that they are even accentuated. We capture and retain talent and workers bring them well-being, "says Iglesias.


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