Although in Guatemala there is no legal frame for “Telework”, it could be said that it is a way in which services are provided in a location other than the employer's office or headquarters. What makes this modality so attractive? What is the key to make it work?
The key is in TECHNOLOGY, in the innovative and efficient use of tools that allow us to be connected without being anchored to a specific place.
This type of work does not require the physical presence of the workers, which is a motivational element for new generations since it allows them to make efficient use of time and for those of us who are Y, Z, millennials or zentenials, telework has helped us break traditional barriers related to count with a specific space to work. Moreover, we have seen ourselves more connected, communication flowing better, and efficiencies have begun to be noticed.
With an optimistic perspective, I see that COVID-19 has opened the doors to this type of work, being more and more the norm than the exception. It is an amazing tool that has helped, on the one hand, to prevent and avoid the spread of the virus and, on the other hand, has generated efficiencies, effectiveness and increased productivity in the provision of services.
However, we have some challenges ahead to implement and structure this new modality of work under the new normal, such as the need to have a legal framework that regulates it. In the meantime, we share some recommendations:
- Agree to telework in writing with your workers.
- If teleworking is not regulated in the Internal Labor Regulations, a policy must be written detailing the applicable conditions and notified to all employees.
- The employee that works remotely will have the same rights and obligations as any other employee.
- The worker must render his services under the direction of the employer and respect all the rules and procedures established by the employer.
- Provide the worker with all the necessary tools to provide the services remotely:
- Agree and regulate with which equipment the services will be provided, the care or conditions that must be taken with it, the management of the expenses incurred (internet, electricity, among others).
- Communicate and sign a policy for the proper use of tools and equipment delivered (for the exclusive use of work-related activities and legal activities, being the employee responsible for a use other than that allowed
- Develop and communicate confidentiality policies for:
- The use of networks, accesses, passwords, restrictions on the use of computer equipment and programs, protection of personal data, use of information, copying or transfer of files, ownership of the information.
- Establish the penalties that non-compliance may entail.
- It must be analyzed whether or not the job will be subject to a working day and the way in which compliance with it will be verified.
All of the above must be properly documented and communicated to the employee, so that it becomes mandatory for him. In the event of non-compliance, the employer may exercise its sanctioning power, in accordance with the procedures and sanctions established in its internal work regulations and using the technological tools that it has implemented.
- For the application of sanctions, due process and the right of defense of the worker must be guaranteed, in compliance with what is regulated in the Internal Labor Regulations:
- For example, notifications can be made through the email designated as a work tool for the employee and hearings can be carried out through virtual platforms, without physical presence. It is advisable to record all sessions and draw up administrative records of what happened in them. The electronic signature may be used, provided that the prior registration requirement regulated in the Law for the Recognition of Electronic Communications and Signatures is met.
- Absences such as the worker not connecting to the company’s platform, can be equated with absence or abandonment of work. Therefore, they must be sanctioned and properly documented, and may even be sanctioned with justified dismissal.
Thus, proper planning and adaptation of working conditions to the new figure of Telework is essential, what has started as something temporary, has expanded exponentially within this new normal that remains to be seen.
Teleworking is here to stay, it helps us optimize the time we normally spend in transportation and travel, in effectiveness and productivity, and it has even managed to bring out this social and ecological awareness so necessary in all of us.
Work is what you do, not where you do it.