New reality in work models
In The Adecco Group we surveyed 8000 office-based workers, managers, and C-level executive in 8 countries and the results showed us that 74% of workers would like a mix of office-based and remote work in the future and 79% of C-Suite leaders believe that business will benefit from allowing increased flexibility. And so we already know that the remote work is here to stay, and it requires changes not only in our companies but also in our minds and attitude.
“The spread of remote working is connected to the need to develop different skills of employees compared to the pre-COVID-19 reality. These are skills related to self-organisation, self-discipline, and self-management during working hours, as well as cooperation in a dispersed team” – underlines Anna Iskra-Opalińska, BPO/SSC Manager in The Adecco Group.
Implementing changes concerning remote work and hybrid work models does not come without challenges. From a risk of rising inequalities, drop in productivity and uncertainty around taxes, costs, and wages, the transition toward hybrid work models will not be a success-story unless accompanied by the adequate policies. Some countries all over the world have put in place legislative framework around remote work.
The long-term implementation of both remote work and flexible types of work in a post-pandemic reality bring a lot of challenges, both from an organizational point of view and a regulatory point of view.
Some of these challenges include:
- Inequality: if unregulated, remote work could worsen inequalities, as not all workers enjoy the same access to this model. Inequalities may also arise between workers who decide to return to the workplace and those who do not.
- Productivity: to ensure that remote work goes hand-in-hand with an increased productivity, a strong focus should be put on workers’ wellbeing.
- Cost, wages and taxes: working remotely implies new costs and new ways of calculating wages and taxes. Governments should adapt a new tax system to assist a new way of working. On the company level, employers should make clear which costs are incumbent to whom.
- Cybersecurity and IT tools: the spread of the remote work model has made businesses even more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Investments in IT tools are crucial.
It’s true that remote work is already partially regulated at the international level through organizations like the ILO Conventions (International Labour Organization) and EU Directives. Some countries have also framed the conditions of remote work at their national level as well. In The Adecco Group whitepaper, we compared this regulatory environment in 16 different countries. Almost everywhere, a remote work arrangement is the result of mutual agreement between the employer and the employees. Most of the time, this agreement must be formalised in a written contract. Six countries give employees the right to request such an arrangement to the employer that the employer has the duty to consider, and must give a justified answer within a specific time range. What more, the governments of Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands have implemented tax incentives and subsidies to accompany the transition toward a hybrid work model to promote the adoption of remote work.
To ensure that remote work is implemented in an inclusive, sustainable, and secure way, it is important to urge both governments and employers to take action.
On the government level, officials should take the follow actions:
- Build a legislative framework for remote work
- Address Inequalities - promote remote work for under-privileged groups and underserved populations
- Invest in Infrastructure
- Consider Taxes - adapt the tax system for remote work and engage in bi- or multilateral tax negotiations to avoid a double tax burden for remote workers
- Reskill - support people in reskilling and upskilling
We urge employers to:
- Address Inequalities - redesign jobs to enable remote work whenever possible
- Invest in Infrastructure - improve your cybersecurity to make remote work a safe option for the company
- Reskill and Upskill - determine the digital skill gap of the workforce
- Management: promote a management based on empathy, agility, and creativity
“The challenge – also present in the modern business services industry – is becoming a model of effective leadership and emphasis on leadership skills in the new normal. A huge responsibility lies with employers – it is in the hands of their managers to help employees cope with the new situation. Today, managers need to be prepared to manage more autonomous, dispersed, and flexible remote working teams. This is directly linked to a new form of communication and management by results” - says Daniel Wocial, VP Adecco & Cluster Head Poland & Czech Republic in The Adecco Group.
Remote work could be a turning point in the world of work. With the adequate policies in place, its long-term implementation will boost productivity, foster a better work-life balance, and address the talent scarcity. It is crucial to accompany the transition to make it inclusive, fair, and profitable.
Contact: Katarzyna Zimińska
Phone: +48 725 779 990