What can we do to improve telework in Portugal after Covid-19 pandemic?

Before the pandemic, the telework situation in Portugal was bleak and could be briefly summarized as having a significant cultural (presencial) problem (managers and workers alike), with difficult legislation, adversarial social partners and ineffective governmental initiatives.

Now, there is a case to argue for the combination of actions to promote telework post-Covid-19. The public sector should set an example to the rest of the economy by implementing remote days per week. Bigger companies should internalize these new workflows and ways of distributing work, by creating HR programmes dedicated to remote work and work-life balance.

Smaller companies are more flexible, but they also need a push from their employers' associations by establishing collective bargaining rules that apply to their sectors as a whole (and avoid unfair competition). Trade unions should also proactively participate by promoting effective protection mechanisms against isolation, overtime, etc.

Last, there should be an agreement at the national or European level, where we all (collectively) agree that we need more remote work for many reasons beyond work-life balance and lifestyles. Those reasons should include climate change, environmental mitigation, excessive consumption and waste and fight against inequalities towards a more inclusive and fair society.

Nuno Boavida