Telecommuting: energy sobriety, what rules this winter?

Telework has become democratized in France with the Covid epidemic. It could be reinforced by the government to save heating in companies this winter. Reminder of the French law on telework and advice to stay motivated in the long term.

  Telecommuting: energy sobriety, what rules this winter?

[Updated October 7, 2022 at 12:33 p.m.] The teleworking has become democratized in France with the epidemic of Covid and many employees now follow this work organization. Telecommuting will be reinforced this winter for the civil servants in accordance with recommendations from government in his Energy sobriety plan presented Thursday, October 6. Agents will have a daily allowance increased by 15% , to save the heater in public buildings. The goal being to limit travel and reduce heating in buildings, for example on the occasion of a bridge when the company remains closed for several days. What does the Labor Code say about teleworking? Which is the definition of telework ? The advantages and disadvantages? How to organize? Stay motivated over time ? L advice from our psychotherapist Bruno Vibert to maintain motivation and be effective over time.

What are the telework instructions in the Energy Sobriety Plan?

The government presented are Energy sobriety plan Thursday, October 6 for this winter . 'Sobriety is a simple concept: chosen savings rather than suffered cuts' explains Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Teleworking is thus for the government 'a source of energy savings on transport and for buildings'.

► In the public service: the use of teleworking will be made within the framework of the framework agreement relating to the implementation of teleworking in the three public services signed on July 13, 2021. In order to help them cope with the increase in the price of energy , agents will benefit from an increase in the fixed allowance of 15% in order to cover the increase in energy prices from the beginning of 2023. Some state services will experiment with telework by closing buildings to accurately measure actual heating savings. This will be the case for the Ministries of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion and Energy Transition, with the shutdown of 4 Ile-de-France sites – Saint-Germain, Hôtel de Roquelaure, Grande Arche and Tour Séquoia – for a period of 4 days, from October 29 to November 1 inclusive.

► In all companies: in the event of particular tension on the network (red EcoWatt signal), plan with the social partners for an appropriate telework organization. the telework, associated with the closure of buildings concerned, could be triggered in emergency situations in the event of significant voltage on the electricity network, in order to maximize the energy savings linked to the activity in the buildings.

What is the definition of telecommuting?

Telework is a work organization who consists to work at home or in a co-working space . The teleworker normally exercises his professional activity and certifies that he can be reached by his employer during the time slots defined in his employment contract. Telecommuting can be regular is set up by a collective agreement or a charter, or casual , in this case a simple mutual agreement (oral or by email) between the employer and the employee is sufficient. As part of the epidemic of Covid-19 , telecommuting is a mode of organization of the company which participates in the approach to preventing the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and allows to limit social interactions around workplaces and on home-to-work journeys.

How do you stay motivated while working remotely?

No way to stay in pajamas: it's counterproductive!

► Set up a morning ritual.

' We start the day with getting ready and getting dressed as if we were going to his place of work. No way to stay in pajamas: it's counterproductive because it doesn't put us in a work energy. The ideal is to go for a walk 10 to 15 minutes (the exit certificate during the second confinement allows it) before starting the day to leave your home and re-enter. It gives the impression of having traveled to another environment ', explains the psychotherapist. We also take the time to make a real nutritious breakfast full of energy (composed of a cereal product, a dairy product and a fruit).

► Take breaks.

' In the same way that we would discuss with a colleague or that we would drink a coffee from the machine, we should not feel guilty about taking a few breaks during the day. If we feel that our concentration is starting to drop, we take a 10-15 minute break to stretch our legs, go for a walk, read or make a call to a loved one, for example. Going outside your home allows you to clear your mind for a few minutes so that you can then fully recover in an activity. “, insists our interlocutor. Moreover, if we give ourselves a real break (at lunch for example), we will be less tempted to take repeated mini-breaks throughout the day.

We do not hesitate to multiply social contacts during our free time, especially if we live alone at home.

Keep in touch with colleagues.

' To avoid social isolation, do not hesitate to talk by phone, email or internal chat with your colleagues to reassure yourself, confide in your concerns, question them about their work organization if you feel destabilized or self-delivered. At least once a week, videoconferences can be preferred that offer greater fluidity and spontaneity in exchanges. In this particularly anxiety-provoking period, we do not hesitate to multiply social contacts during our free time, especially if we live alone at home. ', recommends our expert. Moreover, it is preferable not to do exclusively teleworking and to keep one or two days a week on site to be able to maintain social ties and nurture contacts. And as far as possible, it is advisable not to come on the same days in person to set up a routine.

► Do one task at a time.

You can anticipate the preparation of meals to devote the maximum time to your work, to be as productive as possible and not to be destabilized by a concern for organization, which is a source of stress. ' In the same way, it is not advisable to intersperse your working day at home with household chores. Book them in the morning before starting your day or in the evening “, insists Bruno Vibert. The more you scatter, the more efficiency you lose.

Change position regularly and take the time to do 5 minutes of stretching per day to release tension and stiffness. It is advisable to raise your screen to look in the middle , have a straight back and head carriage, have your legs uncrossed and your feet flat on the ground (a footrest can help you maintain good posture). It is important to get up every hour and take at least 10 steps (the venous pump is activated from about 10 steps), to do small muscle exercises while sitting (do small turns with the ankles for example) or breathing exercises (such as stretching, yoga, etc.) to stimulate the diaphragm and stretch the spine and finally, to stay well hydrated throughout the day.

Who can telecommute according to the Labor Code?

According to Ministry of Economy website , in theory, the telework applies to all professional categories , even if it is not a right for the employee. The Labor Code does not set any criteria or particular conditions to determine the possibility or the advisability of implementing telework in a company for the benefit of employees, recalls the ministry. Within the same company, it is possible that the profile of a position prevents the implementation of teleworking while other positions can benefit from it. Employers can decide to set up telework only for certain categories of staff. Whether an employer has the right to refuse telework to an employee, even if teleworking is set up within the structure, it nevertheless has the obligation to justify his answer . Conversely, the refusal to accept a teleworker position is not a reason for terminating the employment contract. Since the entry into force of the law on the strengthening of social dialogue, it it is no longer necessary to modify the employment contract to allow an employee to telecommute. To set up telework, there are 3 possibilities:

  • A simple agreement between employer and employee , by any means (oral agreement, email, mail, etc.)
  • a collective agreement
  • a charter drawn up by the employer, after consulting the social and economic committee.

Telecommuting and Covid: what rule today?

Since February 2, telework is no longer mandatory but recommended.

Since February 2, 2022, telework is no longer mandatory but highly recommended . ' The use of telework is recommended: employers set, within the framework of local social dialogue, the terms and conditions for the use of telework “, can we read in the health protocol at work . Indeed, to stem the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic and avoid the influx in transport, telework became widespread in France in 2020 . He is considered a ' mode of organization of the company which can participate in the process of preventing the risk of infection with Covid-19 and make it possible to limit social interactions around the workplace and on home-to-work journeys. ' The national interprofessional agreement (ANI) of November 26, 2020 for a successful implementation of telework constitutes a useful frame of reference for its implementation. Concretely, to date, for positions that allow it, teleworking is recommended for a minimum of 3 days per week . When the organization of work and the situation of the employees allow it, this number can be increased to 4 days per week.

How to organize remote work to be productive?

It is absolutely inadvisable to work on your couch or on your bed, which are spaces associated with rest.

► Create an environment conducive to work.

The first thing to do is to define a specific space who will be exclusively dedicated to work and which will mark a clear border with its other living spaces. This makes it possible to clearly distinguish between his professional life and his private life. It is absolutely inadvisable to work on your couch or on your bed, which are spaces associated with rest and break times. In addition to being badly installed, we do not work in a motivating, ergonomic space that has 'a connotation of work'. It is therefore preferable to settle near a source of natural light and away from sources of distraction (television, social networks, etc.). The ideal is to have a desk installed in the living room or bedroom, or even better a separate room where it is possible to close the door. ' If our space is smaller, we can very well set up our workstation on the dining room or kitchen table and we will make sure put it away when the day is done . It is also recommended to have objects that represent work (for example, a pencil holder, a mouse pad, notebooks…)'

Set work schedules and plan your day.

' You can adjust your schedules to those you usually do face-to-face. This allows to have structuring landmarks during the day and have good consistency. And as we save on transport time, we can take the opportunity to put this time usually wasted for the benefit of an activity that makes us really happy : a sports session, a meditation session, a reading time, a moment of gardening or an activity with your children... “, advises Bruno Vibert. Telecommuting allows more flexibility , then we can afford to adapt our schedules to the times when we feel the most productive. If it's morning, we start a little earlier, for example. Otherwise, we take care not to shift our lunch break or to skip meals. On the contrary, we take real balanced and energetic meals. To better organize ourselves, we can also do une to-do list (no need to make an insurmountable list that is demotivating) every morning to have a global vision of the tasks to be carried out in your day. It is advisable to assign a duration to each of the tasks (for example, 30 minutes to answer emails, 15 minutes to prepare for the next day's meeting...), this helps not to scatter and procrastinate.

Do not be disturbed.

' For this, we bring together the members of our household and we fix together organizational rules . For example, prohibition to enter the office from such time to such time. If several people are teleworking simultaneously, we define a space for each (one person in the office, one person in the living room for example). It is also very important to turn off the ringtone on your cell phone and to disconnect from social networks while doing a tedious task or one that requires more calm ', recommends our expert. There are time management apps (Be Focused, Forest...) which allow you to program periods during which you do not want to be disturbed. This allows you to gain in concentration, in productivity and not to be parasitized.

It is not a right for the employee.

What are the advantages of telecommuting?

Telecommuting has many advantages for the worker. It allows:

  • Greater autonomy.
  • Time savings (e.g. transport time savings).
  • A better distribution of his time in the day and a better flexibility.
  • A decrease in fatigue and stress (related to transport, insecurity during a period of health crisis for example).
  • Money savings (related to transport, childcare, catering...).
  • Better focus.
  • A gain in productivity.
  • A feeling of trust towards his hierarchy.
  • A better balance between personal and professional life.

What are the disadvantages of working from home?

If telework has many advantages, it can also entail risks for the worker such as:

  • A risk of social isolation' which can manifest itself according to the predisposition of each one by anxiety , panic attacks or depression “, specifies our interlocutor.
  • An increase in family conflicts (when work-life balance is poorly managed or because family members get together much more often).
  • A risk of work addiction.
  • A loss of team spirit.
  • Difficulties in personal organization (difficulties in separating one's professional life from one's private life, for example).
  • A loss of concentration due to interference from other members of the household.
  • A lack of feeling of belonging to a group, a collective, a company...
  • Risks of addiction (to cigarettes, alcohol, snacking, etc.).

Thanks to Bruno Vibert, psychotherapist. Source: Companies, what you need to know about working from home. Ministry of the Economy, 01/09/2021