Office and Home Office “50/50”

The coronavirus is not giving up, new cases of the disease are still being recorded all over the world every day, in many countries, counted in three-digit numbers. Meanwhile, government restrictions, consisting in lockdowns, have a negative impact not only on national economies and household budgets, but also on our psyche. On the one hand, we feel the need to return to work, but on the other hand, we are afraid of getting sick.

It turns out that the regulations that were supposed to be in force during the pandemic have been adopted for longer in many companies. Some companies have still not decided to bring work back to the standard system, in some the employees themselves ask to work from home. Especially since they are aware that this is possible. The solution for many companies may be the organization of work in a partially remote system, which allows for the gradual return to office work or simply is a response to the need to maintain social distance.

More space without changing the office

Many companies are not able to reorganize the office space or production hall in such a way as to maintain the required two or even one and a half meter distance between employees. In such a case it is necessary to reduce the number of employees per square meter. Without changing the office to a bigger one (which increases company expenses), this can only be achieved by delegating some of the employees to work from home. It turns out, however, that not everyone wants to work in that standard for many different reasons. Some people simply miss their colleagues, others do not have the proper conditions for efficient work at home. Most often, companies choose the rotation model – an employee works a certain number of days in the office alternately with other colleagues, and the rest at home. Some companies manage to keep an appropriate distance between people in the office or implement shifts or combine shifts with remote work.

Health first!

The most important thing is to ensure the health of employees, because that is what everyone is most afraid of now – says Marek Ciunowicz, CEO of the Corees Polska Real Estate Agency – Various solutions are implemented in offices to ensure that employees are protected against infection. Employers take care of social distancing, cleaning supplies, and disinfection – he adds.

As far as we think about providing protection when working in offices, no one thinks about the health of employees working from home. The responsibility of employers for damages that may be faced by an employee working remotely, for compliance with health and safety and occupational health regulations, not to mention more serious accidents that may happen to an employee while working at home, is a big question mark. Another issue is the scope of control and drawing consequences by the employer towards the employee, e.g. in a situation in which they work on using their own equipment.

If the pandemic situation does not change and some companies continue to work remotely, even partially remotely, new, appropriate regulations will be necessary, e.g. in the labor code. These may appear after the holidays. The question is to what extent the interests of both