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The eco decryption. Towards more flexible teleworking, but not before mid-May


A woman teleworking from her home. Illustrative photo. (VANESSA MEYER / MAXPPP)

It is a question of making the health protocol more flexible, probably by mid-May. Today, we recall that the government has introduced systematic teleworking, five days out of five, if the position allows it, under penalty of sanctions. And companies have rather played the game during this third confinement: according to a survey by the ministry, over the past 15 days, the number of workers (who can) telework has increased from 65 to 78%. The fact remains that most – employers and employees alike – can no longer telework 100%.

The bosses are alarmed to lose control, to see their teams drop out, be demotivated, when for their part, teleworkers are numerous to complain of loneliness and fatigue. However, few will resume in 100% face-to-face. Already because teleworking is effective against the virus. A study by the Institut Pasteur shows that it reduces the risk of catching Covid-19 by 30%. But also, because for many employees, there is no question of going back to the life before, by going to the office every day.

Elisabeth Borne suggests that each company or professional branch define its own rate of recovery, ie “its” number of days per week. And, it is a bit of a “hot potato” because it is not so easy to find compromises on this subject. Unions often ask for compensation for teleworking, compensation to cover part of the costs such as internet bills, office equipment, etc., while employers, especially smaller ones, refuse to pay.

Elisabeth Borne also wants to look into the issue of business catering. Here too, it is a question of seeing with the organizations how to loosen the protocol. Today, it is strict: many company restaurants have also closed. And in the few that remain open, you have to keep significant distances, have lunch alone at the table, organize services at staggered hours, etc. The same goes for moments of conviviality at work, such as drinking parties, events, which are now totally prohibited on site. The government is looking for ways to ease the constraints, without completely relieving the pressure in the face of the virus.

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