In the age of cyberattacks, can telework truly be secure? This is an important issue for employers deciding whether to allow their employees to work remotely. Despite the considerable advantages of telework, such as cost reduction, improved work-life balance, and decreased absenteeism, it’s only now starting to develop in Europe. Teleworkers in Europe constitute 3.5% of the working population. Northern European countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Luxembourg seem to be more open to telework than other European countries, with nearly 35% of the Danish working population being teleworkers. 

In Europe, only an average of 3.5%
of employees work from home


 

Isn’t telecommuting working against the current norms of open space offices and desk sharing? If people are used to working in an active and communicative environment, won’t they just feel isolated when working from home? The vast number of collaborative tools and means of communication, synchronous or asynchronous, prove otherwise. There is a well-established community of teleworkers that get together in shared working environments designed to fight against employee isolation and foster professional social contact. 

Concerning this social aspect of work, employees must have their employer’s trust. Telecommuting must be discussed and settled upon hiring. Once trust is established and the rules are laid down upon hiring, all forms of working methods are possible. In my opinion, the real issue is in providing support to employees making the transition to telework. To develop new working habits, employers must listen to their employees, establish clear objectives for them, and set up indicators to help justify their decision to work remotely. 

It is crucial to keep an open mind about telework in order to advance this way of working. According to the latest Eurofound survey in 2015 on working conditions in Europe, the majority of teleworkers are men and highly qualified professionals. The majority of jobs today require the use of computers and telephones, both of which are easily adaptable to telework. Furthermore, presenteeism continues to play a major role in most company cultures. Despite ‘flexible hours’, too many employees continue to be reprimanded for arriving after 9:30am or leaving before 5pm, even if they’ve adapted their schedule to fit in the required number of working hours. 

Telecommuting is obviously not the solution to all of a company’s problems. It is, however, an option that provides both employers and employees with more flexibility. The laws may change here in France like they did in our neighbouring countries like Great Britain or the Netherlands, where teleworking is now an employee right.

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