B-Efficient newsletter - June 2020 - Telework

B-Efficient launches a new service:  "Teleworkcompliance" 

In March 2020, the COVID-19 crisis and containment obligations forced all companies to telework as much as possible.This has often been done in a hurry on the model of casual telework, all appropriate in case of force majeure. 

However, according to a survey carried out by BDO in April 2020, 6 out of 10 Belgians want to telework at least 2 days a week after the crisis and half of companies do not have a telework policy.To formalize telework, the organizational and legal frameworks need to be clearly defined.

B-Efficient offers legal advice to companies in order to define a sustainable legal and organizational framework for telework (structural and/or casual). This is by ensuring that the expectations of the employer and its workers are respected.

B-Efficient also achieves tax and social optimization as well as, if necessary, coaching and coaching of managers and teleworkers.

Telework or remote work involves a variety of practices encompassing all forms of work done outside the company's main establishment and applying to all dispersed units of a company.  It can be casual or permanent.

There are many reasons why a company may be launching a remote work initiative:

  • Increase the quality of work and employee satisfaction;
  • Improve the company's performance through improved productivity;
  • Saving money by reducing workspaces;

Written formalization is mandatory for employers who have had a positive experience of telework during the pandemic (force majeure) and who now wish to introduce structural telework within their company.

B-Efficient takes care of this formalization of telework and can, if necessary, supplement this service with training and coaching for managers and teleworkers.  This type of collaboration requires a change in the way we collaborate.

Telework thus raises various questions relating to control, performance evaluation, trust, autonomy, and employee empowerment, involvement and a sense of belonging to a collectivity, etc.

This service offer does not cover infrastructure, technical and technological aspects.

What are the different forms of telework?

There are two forms of telework: occasional and structural.

Occasional telework refers to "a  form of organization and/or carrying out of work, as part of an employment contract, using information technology, in which activities, which could also be carried out on the employer's premises, are carried out on an occasional and non-regular basis".

Structural telework refers to "a form oforganization and/or carrying out of work, using information technology, as part of an employment contract, in which work, which could also have been carried out on the employer's premises, is carried out on a regular and non-occasional basis."

In both cases, telework takes place at the teleworker's home or at a location of his/her choice.


What are the benefits of telework?

  1. For workers:

The main advantage is a greater flexibility, allowing a better balance between private and professional life. However, this benefit is not self-evident and border blurring can lead to difficulties. Harmony between the private and professional lives is therefore a real challenge.

The possible balance between work and non-work, combined with reduced travel times, is a source of reduced stress at work, which is another supposed benefit of telework.

A third benefit of telework comes from the increased control that the teleworker exerts over his tasks. Combined with the increase in flexibility, the result is greater job satisfaction. However, this can be jeopardized by the social and professional isolation suffered by some teleworkers.

  1. For teams:

Telework is not just for the teleworker and has multiple benefits for teams. These include a reduction in absenteeism and a reduction in turnover. The latter goes hand in hand with a seen increase in the commitment and loyalty of the teleworker, expressed by a lower intention to leave the company as well as a greater level of commitment.

Other advantages of remote work are greater flexibility in skills management and work planning, as well as a better understanding of content and work volume.

It is also worth noting a better adaptation of operations and the continuity of services enabled in the event of an emergency by this flexible form of work.

Finally, a considerable benefit of telework is an increase in the recruitment base, greater attractiveness and better retention of skills.

  1. For the employer:

Remote work has advantages for the organization not only directly, for example in economic terms, but also more indirectly, notably through an improvement in its image or prestige.

Many companies highlight a key economic advantage of telecommuting, namely increased productivity.

Telework also saves a lot of space, work equipment and loads (rental, heating, electricity, etc.).

Beyond these economic benefits, other benefits can also be highlighted. Telework  can also have positive environmental effects through the substitution of travel by the use of communication technologies. Telework reduces fuel consumption, traffic congestion and, as a result, the carbon footprint. These positive benefits  can serve the company in its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy.

What should we be vigilant about?

The risks most commonly identified by teleworkers are : loss of social ties - feeling of loneliness, difficulty to maintain the work - life balance, technical (IT, network) problems, workstation ergonomics and organizational issues.

It seems essential to promote the principle of alternating between days of presence on site and homework. This means that days are kept at a distance so that the worker is not constantly away from other employees.

In addition, it is important to ensure that teleworkers remain visible and "connected to the company."  It is necessary to establish a relationship of trust between employees and managers and to adapt the terms of exchange and coordination.et of his team.

It is also imperative to formalize and contract the telework arrangements.

B-Efficient's"Telework Compliance" Service offer :

For the legal aspects, B-Efficient will mandate an expert who will work in 5 phases:

Phase 1: Analysis of telework needs (formal and informal existing situation - desired situation - strategic issues - determination of the timely form of structural telework - financial and technological impacts).

Phase 2:  Implementing a communication strategy around the project so that workers are involved in the project and sufficiently informed about different aspects of telework. There is also a duty of information for the company (standard procedure in companies with EC for structural telework and specific procedure in certain cases covered by CTC 39, in companies with at least 50 workers).

  • The objectives pursued;
  • The way telework will be implemented within the company;
  • The changes that telework will entail in terms of working conditions;
  • The expected benefits of this change.

There is also a duty of information for the company (standard procedure in companies with EC for structural telework and specific procedure in certain cases covered by CLA 39, in companies with at least 50 workers).


Phase 3: Completion of telework (via agreement on employment contract, CTC or adaptation of work regulations, e-mail, brochure, etc.):

Some examples of issues that need to be addressed include:

  • Frequency of telework and possibly days and hours during which telework is performed and, if necessary, days and/or hours of presence in the company?
  • Moments and periods when the worker must be reachable and in what ways?
  • Moments at which the teleworker can call for technical support?
  • Location where the teleworker chose to do his job?
  • Description of the work to be done in the context of telework?

Health and safety information (ergonomics) must also be provided to the structural teleworker as well as assurance that he or she enjoys the same working conditions as a comparable worker working on company premises.

The occupation of teleworkers, organized on a regular and not occasional basis, is currently regulated by collective labour agreement No. 85 of 9 November 2005 concluded in the National Labour Council.  The law of March 5, 2017 on doable and manoeuvrable work has created a regulatory framework for telework that is not carried out on a regular but occasional basis.

Phase 4 :Tax and social optimization of telework. 

What allowances can you, as an employer, award to teleworkers monthly instead of/in addition to providing the necessary telework devices?   How can we ensure that these benefits are exempt for both parties?

Phase 5: Various advice to employers/workers (organization - training/coaching)

If necessary, B-Efficient will be able to supplement these advices with an organizational component and a training-coaching component.

It is important to ensure that:

  • Establish and maintain trust between manager and employees;
  • Changing the culture of benefit control (through ICT, worker declaration or results)
  • Adapt the terms of exchange and coordination.

In her approach, B-Efficient will ensure that the modalities of telework:

  • get the full support of the employees;
  • be non-discriminatory under the provisions of labour law applicable to the rest of the company;
  • be precise enough to avoid any blurring or damaging ambiguity;
  • promote the establishment or maintenance of a relationship of trust between the employee and his manager (avoid the overlay of control tools);
  • be socially and fiscally optimal for employers and workers;
  • formally establish a right to disconnection for the employee (definition of time slots during which he is not required to be online) (de facto it will be advised but personal, I would not put this because it is going in a direction that a company may not want from the start ....  it could cool some of them)

B-Efficient implements the recommendations of the Walloon Region's digitalisation initiative: digital Wallonia - NWOW/New Ways Of Working, in collaboration with UCLouvain and the University of Liège.

So don't hesitate to contact us for more information:  

Kind regards

The entire B-Efficient team