Faced with the health crisis linked to Covid-19, the government has asked all companies that could to put their employees in telework. A request ignored in many societies. “There is a kind of mistrust, but companies want to push telework to the maximum without necessarily falling every 5 days out of 5”, explained Thursday, November 5 on franceinfo Benoît Serre, Deputy Vice-President of ANDRH (National Association of Human Resources Directors).
franceinfo: Is the deposit difficult to enforce?
Benoît Serre: Legally, the government cannot impose teleworking. I recognize that in a number of cases, companies or leaders do not want teleworking because they have a bad perception. We have a very presentee managerial culture. Before Covid-19, all studies showed that people who telecommute were as productive, if not more productive. Whoever does not work in the office will not work at home and whoever works in the office will work at home. The comparison is difficult to make with the first confinement where people said to themselves that it was going to last two months and where we had set up a massive teleworking by taking risks on the organization, the productivity of the company because it was short. There, we know that it will last for months and we are putting in place the most balanced organizations possible between health protection on one side and the economic development of the company on the other side.
You have met with the Minister of Labor. What is she telling you?
The 5 days out of 5 teleworking requested by the government, and it is understandable, arises on super weakened economies and on employees who do not want because they have suffered from teleworking. She hears that. We know that it is not easy, complicated and that it is an act of citizenship to do so. It should be understood that companies are organizing themselves for several months and we must give them time and not ask them in 48 hours to switch back to all telework as in March because it would be dangerous for the coming months, we must find the good balance.
Isn’t it easier than in March?
Indeed, it is easier because the children are in school and the companies have learned to operate with telework. But they also learned that teleworking 5 days a week, many employees do not want it. It’s been a week, but in an organization it’s not that simple.
Businesses are tired and there is a kind of mistrust in thinking that if people are not there they are not working, but that is not true.Benoît Serre, Deputy Vice-President of ANDRH
The companies want to push teleworking as much as possible without necessarily falling every 5 days out of 5, that will not please the Minister, but it is the economic realities of companies that are at stake.
Can there be sanctions for companies that do not respect the obligation to telework?
The minister has already said that there could be sanctions after a phase of support by the Labor Inspectorate. We have never considered that what comes under the sanction was more productive, if we have to go through that maybe we will go through that but I’m not sure that this is the best way. The sanction must be based on a legal obligation that does not exist. You cannot make a decree imposing telework. Now, there is a movement that has been launched, large companies which refused to do so announced that they would do it, we are making progress and I hope that we will not arrive at sanctions. We are almost at 20% today against 10% a month ago.