Today’s reality: remote work, how are the employees supported by their employers, and the Agile philosophy within the Romanian business environment
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first good decision made by companies, especially the private ones, was for their employees to work from home, a decision that saved many lives and continues to do so. This first good decision was followed by a second one – employers became emphatic, and gave their employees some financial security, where they could, they understood that their people might need an extra break, they supported their colleagues with children, for whom everything has become even harder overnight, and they provided everyone with specialists so that they could talk about the challenges they faced.
At the moment, we can’t discuss the future of work without talking about what working remotely is like, what benefits are the companies offering, who wants to implement a hybrid work model, and how is today’s business culture from an agile perspective.
According to the Romanian Law no. 81/2018, the contract or additional act concluded to carry out the telework activity must be based on the agreement of both parties.
The employees would like the company to cover the costs for a psychotherapist and some of the expenses for working from home.
Companies must implement an agile philosophy within their teams to make remote working run smoothly
„Working from home” vs. „teleworking”
So, where do we „work from home”? This is the question that we are hearing more often lately, especially in the current context, where the „home-office” or the „teleworking” activity has become more and more widespread, although it is regulated since 2018 by the Romanian Law no. 81.
However, there is confusion when it comes to „work from home”, regulated separately in Law no. 53/2003 – Labor Code, and „telework”, regulated by Law no. 81/2018 and recently amended by the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 36/2021 (OUG 36/2021).
According to the Labor Code, „working from home” is an activity carried out by an employee exclusively at home, where there is a legal obligation for it to be a place strictly regulated in the individual employment contract, from which the employee can carry out his or hers activity.
According to OUG 36/2021, „teleworking” has been defined as „the form of work organization through which the employee, regularly and voluntarily, fulfils his attributions specific to the position, occupation or profession he holds in another place than the workplace organized by the employer, by using the information and communications technology”.
The novelty consists in the fact that the employee can fulfil his or her specific duties using mainly the information and communications technology in any place other than the job established by the employer, without having a geographical limitation or a restriction in having more such jobs, thus eliminating the initial provision regarding the obligation to regulate in the employment contract the place or places of carrying out the telework activity, agreed by the parties.
„It is important to note that, according to Law no. 81/2018, the contract or additional act concluded to carry out the telework activity must be based on the agreement of both parties, so that an employee cannot be forced to work from home or from another location, just as nor can he be sanctioned in any way for his refusal.”, mentioned Alina Vlad, Key Account Manager, Mazars Romania.
Beyond all the legislative aspects that the employer has to take into account when his employees „works from home”, and the challenge of working from home, where the employees have to know when it’s time to log off, it is important to focus on what is good, and to enjoy the benefits of working from home or of teleworking – like the extra time we are spending with our friends and family, time that we have gained from not commuting anymore.
The employees would like the company to cover the costs for a psychotherapist and some of the expenses for working from home
One thing that we did know at the start of the pandemic was to protect others, but along the journey of doing that, we forgot to take care of ourselves. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, and it is completely normal to experience a wide range of emotions, that are very hard to deal with on your own.
„According to the Undelucram.ro platform, 1 out of 5 employees want the company where they work to cover the costs for a psychotherapist. Furthermore, the same percentage of employees would like that the company to subsidize some of the expenses for working from home, like the payment of energy or a part of the rent. Although we have heard of many good examples in the Romanian business environment that are offering those benefits that we mentioned above, not all the employers have reached that point yet, and we hope that this situation will quickly change.”, mentioned Alexandra Florescu, Payroll Consultant, Mazars Romania.
Another advantage that we have on our side, is the younger generation, who are working and developing businesses to help millions of people. A recent example is a young Romanian who came to Silicon Valley with an innovation called PostureHealth, which is designed to help and correct body posture when working from the office and staying so many hours in a chair, a much-needed app during these times.
The Agile philosophy in the age of the remote workforce
In one way or another, remote work is here to stay, and although we can benefit from many advantages, there is also important to notice the things that aren’t working well, and that can be solved with the help of an agile mindset.
Agile methodologies could be the „glue” that keeps the team together while physically apart, as they allow work to be organised and assigned in an efficient and flexible way between different multidisciplinary teams, making the best decision at each juncture. A simple way to start coordinating your teams is through daily short meetings that need to happen in the morning, where the team can talk about their current tasks, and explain what is working and what is not, as well as discussing the obstacles encountered.
For example, at Mazars, we have adopted the idea of a Design Sprint and we have gathered a team of people from 11 countries to be involved in 8 online workshops, where they have to find automated solutions for the current needs of the company. After completing this sprint design workshop, the agile sprint process will follow, so that we can be one step closer to developing an even better work philosophy.