why does it get stuck on teleworking

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The government leaves a free hand to companies, fearing the isolation of employees or a social divide.


© Sipa

The government leaves a free hand to companies, fearing the isolation of employees or a social divide.


From Monday, Belgians will have to telework at least four days a week; the French, on the contrary, are encouraged to continue to come to the office while respecting barrier gestures. At a time when economic activity is in full swing again, the government is reluctant to return to the situation that prevailed a year ago, with employees confined to their homes.

Rather than imposing days of teleworking, as recommended by Jean-François Delfraissy, the president of the scientific council, Elisabeth Borne, the Minister of Labor, prefers to intensify controls on compliance with the health protocol in companies. “Barrier gestures such as wearing a mask in meetings are no longer sufficiently respected”, we regret in those around him. The Minister will make a trip on this theme this Monday.

Culture of presenteeism

But why not go further, when only 21% of employees who can have carried out their activity from their home at least one day a week in September? And that teleworking would reduce the risk of infection by 25%? There are several reasons for this. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government was cautious about work at home, hesitating to impose it where it was possible, in the name of a culture of presenteeism which remains strong in France.

Then, because 100% teleworking has shown its limits, especially in terms of isolation and loss of creativity within teams. In private, the minister is worried about its psychosocial consequences when it is practiced in high doses, its destructive effects on private and professional life as well as the fractures that may emerge between those who benefit from it and others.

Companies left free

For their part, the unions perceive behind this lack of instructions a desire to leave companies free to manage this mode of organization as they see fit. “Teleworking is seen as a management tool in the hands of employers, granted as a favor, by mutual agreement and without compensation because, precisely, it is consented”, deplores Sophie Binet, co-secretary general of the CGT executives and technicians. Since the 2017 labor ordinances, there is no longer a need for a collective agreement to put it in place. A simple charter or an oral yes is enough.

In sectors called to order last February because they did not practice enough the then three days of rigor, negotiations are at a standstill. “There has been no cultural revolution”, regrets Marie Buard, from the consultancy center of design offices, accountants and advertising of the CFDT.

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