It’s been two years of mandatory teleworking

16 March 2022: exactly 2 years since 100% teleworking became obligatory for almost everyone at the Commission.  On that first day in 2020 some of us did not even have an internet connection at home or a computer. Nevertheless we did what we could with what we had and ensured business continuity at the Commission in the face of a global pandemic. We bought computers, got the internet connected, used our own mobile phones, joined work whatsapp groups, made space in our homes and assumed the additional, associated costs.  We allowed colleagues and strangers to see inside our homes: to see our living rooms, kitchens and even bedrooms. We met families and pets. We answered messages and emails overnight and at weekends, we became always reachable.  We went above and beyond the call of duty and now, 2 years on, continue to do so. So, where are we now?

Teleworking costs [1] and digital overload: a timeline

So, in short, we are still assuming additional costs due to teleworking and still being pushed to be always available. The Commission is well aware of the issues and is making mention of solutions (WTHW) but the corresponding action has yet to be seen. Colleagues are expected to provide out-of-work-time availability without compensation (‘well, you’re at home anyway, right?’) and DGT standby duty systems, intended for emergencies, are being used for routine work  (03/02/2022 (2022)793994). So, as far as work-life balance and digital overload, it appears that it is still up to us as individuals to set boundaries and defend them: to make a point of disconnecting our devices. Please send us your tips and tricks for doing this!

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.

The Generation 2004 team

[1] Update 21.03.2022 some colleagues got in touch to say that they are happy to accept  additional teleworking costs because they save in other ways e.g. transport and time. While there will always be a range of circumstances (depending on staff category, function group and personal circumstances) for many other colleagues there were no or little cost savings to counterbalance the expense E.g.

  • those having to take children somewhere and then go home to work,
  • the Contract Agent (CA) colleague (FGII) spending >44% of take-home pay on the cheapest flat available after moving from a flat share (Luxembourg) in order to have space to work from home (May 2021)
  • those who live close to their place of work i.e. those paying higher accommodation costs to reduce commute time and costs.

[2] Update 17.03.2022 we forgot to add here the corresponding Staff Regulations text (Article 71)

‘An official shall be entitled, as provided in Annex VII, to reimbursement of expenses incurred by him on taking up appointment, transfer, or leaving the service, and also to expenses incurred by him in the course of or in connection with the performance of his duties.’

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