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What has the COVID-19 health crisis changed in relation to the workplace and in particular telework?

The worldwide health crisis caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus has completely transformed the workplace landscape in just a few weeks. From the forced introduction of telework for workers in many companies to the forced closure of many others. How have the measures adopted by governments to try to stop the pandemic affected workers? Today we will focus on all those employees who have been forced to switch to telework. Panacea or a puzzle?

COVID-19 health crisis and workplace

Photo Credit: Pexels Kaboompics

What are the benefits of teleworking?
Disadvantages and issues with teleworking

What are the benefits of teleworking?

Firstly, teleworking reduces commuting, this benefits workers by not having to pay for gas or transportation. In short, it saves time and money. Even more important is the benefit it brings to the environment, with less travel and activity there has been a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. With the Coronavirus, and the closure of entire countries and the confinement of millions of people in their homes, global emissions have been reduced by 6% and 25% in China.

Several studies conducted in various countries show that teleworking greatly improves the productivity of workers in individual tasks as well as collective work, although to a lesser extent in the latter.

With regard to worklife balance, employees have found that telework increases the time they have available for family responsibilities. In other words, it facilitates family reconciliation.

Companies also benefit from teleworking. They believe that telework increases productivity, ensures worker retention, reduces staff turnover, increases employee commitment to the organisation and improves people's performance, to name just a few.

Disadvantages and issues with teleworking

One of the main issues is that many families do not have the technological equipment necessary to be able to work productively at home. When children have to do their homework on the only available computer, and now parents have to work on it too, this is bound to create conflict and a stressful home environment.

Is it possible, however, that there has been a change in companies attitude towards telework, and that employers will be much more likely to offer employees the option to continue telework once the pandemic is behind us? Will this become a more common practice?
It certainly will, due to the pandemic many companies have been forced to acquire the necessary technology, which they have not had before, to operate during the global shutdown. Throughout this period, videoconferencing has become quite common. This was virtually unknown in many companies before the current health crisis.

At the same time, however, we know the limitations of the technology. Anyone who continually participates in videoconferences is looking forward to the day when they will be able to resume professional one-on-one conversations. Moreover, videoconferencing does not replace contact between colleagues in the workplace. In these situations, many things are resolved, with varying degrees of diplomacy, that cannot be resolved at the touch of a button.

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