Achieving Sweden’s and the EU’s climate goals requires a change in behavior, and remote work is an important part.
The percentage of people who worked remotely increased from 15 to 57 percent during the pandemic, and 88 percent of Swedes prefer to work from home at least one day a week. It’s good that we can become more efficient by working somewhat remotely, which can happen in a variety of workplaces, while at the same time piecing together the puzzle of life.
Today, there are industrial colleagues who have been turned down by their employer despite having a similar job, who work remotely one day a week. In addition, three in ten are concerned that working remotely will reduce their chances of promotion, and almost a quarter believe it is negative for wage growth.
This lack of equal treatment and prognosis affects not only the individual, but society as a whole. We’re not reaping the climate benefits that telecommuting can bring: Working remotely two days a week can cut commutes in rush-hour traffic by 40 percent. The road network and public transport do not need to be scaled based on commuting to and from work at the same time every day, parking and office areas can be reduced and the cityscape becomes more vibrant.
Sweden must follow the Netherlands’ flexible working law, which gives employees the right to request to work from home either fully or partially. It can only be refused if there is a good reason, such as the work cannot be done elsewhere, scheduling is impossible, or the home working location is inappropriate. An exemption is granted for companies with fewer than ten employees, provided the employee has been employed for at least six months and the request must be submitted in writing within two months of the desired start date.
The UK has introduced the right to request flexible working, which can be refused for eight reasons: unreasonable additional costs, reduced ability to meet customer needs, inability to rearrange work among existing employees or hire additional employees, negative impact on quality or performance, shortage of work and planned structural changes in the organization. A rejection can be appealed internally, to an employment tribunal or under a specialized arbitration system.
Spanish law stipulates that telecommuters should not be treated differently and that the employer must bear all reasonable costs of working from home.
Portugal has introduced the right to remote work for children under three, children under eight and single parents. In all other cases, the employee may apply for remote work, and the employer must justify the refusal in writing. Telecommuters have the right to be compensated for additional expenses and not be supervised at home, with an obligation to be at the workplace when needed.
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