28th July 2020
During the previous months, we have witnessed a significant number of local and foreign companies sending their employees home whilst still expecting them to continue working as if from the office. Teleworking is a phenomenon that has been with us for decades, but which has never been so strongly ingrained in our working culture (at least on the local scenario) as in the past months, during which we were constantly urged to stay home to quell the raging COVID-19 pandemic to the best of our abilities.
As companies and other organisations have once again begun shifting back to working from their regular work-spaces again over the past weeks, once health authority restrictions began to be slowly eased, various employers and other stakeholders have begun realising that teleworking may often prove beneficial both to them and their employees.
Minister Carmelo Abela, during a webinar discussing sustainable development, also addressed the subject in terms of employment. He stated that teleworking has shown positive effects such as reduced traffic congestion and a decrease in pollutant emissions, whilst also allowing employers certain cost reductions by cutting down on utility, travel, and logistics expenses in certain respects. Several employers have also reported that worker productivity has not slacked during the teleworking period, and so the system has proven itself relatively dependable. Employees also benefited from reduced travelling time and running costs spent on their regular commute to and from work.
Whilst opining on the benefits brought about during this period of rather ‘forced’ remote work, Minister Abela called for national policy documents on teleworking in both the private and the public sector to provide for greater flexibility with this concept, together with an increased openness to the culture of working from home.