Digital overload, burnout and back to the office

*20.09.2021 teleworking guidelines are  available, send us your questions and we’ll add them to our list!*

We invite you to participate in our survey on workload, digital overload and burnout. The Working time and hybrid working decision (issued July 2021) setting out the proposed ‘new normal’ with its ‘disconnection bandwidth’ is still under discussion (follow-up meeting with HR 8 September) and we’d like to have your most recent, post-summertime input, especially in light of the move to Phase 3 of the return to the office strategy announced for Monday 20 September for all Commission sites [1].

Working time remains unchanged [2], but the following updates will be put in place:

  • the phasing in of flexible (‘hybrid’) working (part in the office, part at home) ‘all staff should work in the office at least one day per week’
    • note that it is still possible to work 100% at the office : contact your line manager
    • note that it is still debatable whether this one day can be divided into 2 x 0.5 days (we asked this at the 3 September meeting with HR [3] and they have promised to come back to us with an answer)
  • the raising of the ceiling for office presence to 50% (currently 30%, since 1 July)
  • ‘Meetings with external participants can restart, only if they show the EU Digital Covid Certificate or equivalent proof of being tested, vaccinated or recovered. The relevant details will be communicated by DG HR.’

Let’s do what we can to ensure that the ongoing phenomenal effort in exceptional circumstances does not become simply what is expected of us from now on, please send us your ideas !

Generation 2004 is here to support you, do not hesitate to contact us, whether you need help with an issue or even just to share your thoughts.

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 [1] Commissioner Hahn on going back to the office “All of us in principle will be at the office at least one day a week” (Au Quotidien, MyIntracomm, 01.09.2021)

New Sysper feature to register your days at the office (MyIntracomm, 10.09.2021)

Coronavirus: Communication to Commission staff – Update 40 (Email, 02.09.2021)

Here’s a dynamic list of buildings showing which have seating for lunch and those with a functioning canteen.

European Central Bank staff protest at return-to-work plans (Politico, 17.08.2021)

[2] Update 03.09.2021 We asked HR whether the 10 days of teleworking can be combined with the end of year days and they stated that they are undecided. So the situation remains as it was 22.06.2021 from Central Staff Committee:
‘Following the recent publication of the revised guidelines on Teleworking (and namely on Telework from abroad) taking effect from 9 June, we would like to share with you some precisions that we have received from the corporate services in order to ensure harmonised approach across the DGs as well as an update of the template to be completed by your managers. Please, disregard this message if you have received this info already directly.

As you have been informed, since 9 June telework from abroad (TWA) is possible if combined with the 5 days of annual leave or credit time. This means in practice the following:
• TWA and annual leave or time credit (min. 5 days) can be mixed and also split in half days.
• In case of Part time work, the minimum number of annual leaves /time credit needed is reduced proportionally, i.e. in case of a 80% part time, minimum of 32 hours (4 days) of AL/TC are needed,
in case of 60% it is 24 hours (3 days), etc.
TWA can also be combined with parental leave as long as there are also min 5 days of annual leave/credit time taken in total around the period. The possibility includes 1/2 annual leave + 1/2 parental leave.
• As a reminder, the TWA should be agreed “in the interest of the service” as it is not a right. And in principal no report of more than 12 days of annual leave should be allowed at the end of the year for staff benefitting from TWA. [i.e. people who teleworked while ‘blocked’ e.g.  quarantine, lock-down in order not to use their annual leave cannot then use the blockage as a justification for being unable to use the holidays and therefore ask for more than 12 days to be sent to the next year. So, remember to use service needs in your justification of the transfer of more than 12 days of annual leave and do not use TWA in your justification.]

We have been informed that the module in Sysper to be able to register those days should be available by the end of the month, but we do not have more information on it.’ [Bold is not present in original]

[3] *update 14.09.2021 the new sysper provisions for the return to the office allow to specify half a day telework and half a day at home*

We again raised the issue there of the additional costs associated with teleworking (we raised this in a note to Ms Ingestad over a year ago (24.07.2020)) such as the payment made to our colleagues in the Parliament (40 EUR). This is of particular importance for contract and temporary agents who, in addition to their additional teleworking costs, have also have to pay back part of the chair and screen contribution if they leave within 5 years.

If you would like our assistance to try to claim your additional costs we have prepared a template for you to use for an Art. 90.1 (request). After you have completed it and have scanned your receipts, please send everything to hr-mail-e2@ec.europa.eu.

While DG HR has refused all Art. 90.1 requests so far, the sheer number of them proved that there is a real need and we are here to help. Please get in touch if you would like to add your requests to the growing avalanche of requests!

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