In the large pool of other news, when it comes to remote working, there were two that attracted attention since the beginning of June. First, the alleged copy of an email forwarded from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to his executive personnel that “Remote work is no longer acceptable”. No need to retell the outburst of comments and controversy regarding this request, both positive and negative.
Then, approximately a month later, the news came from the Netherlands. The Dutch parliament approved legislation to set working from home as a legal right.
What does it mean in practice? At this moment, an employer can deny their employees to work from home without the obligation to give any specific reason for such a decision.
However, the new law will change this. After the Senate approves the new legislation (they hope it will be before the Parliament’s summer break), an employer must take all such requests into consideration. In case they want to deny it, they must provide adequate reasoning behind the decision.
In the emails that Tesla’s CEO sent at the beginning of June, he also added one additional point too. Namely, apparently, he would be open to requests for remote work. Yet he cautioned that such requests would need to be “extraordinary” in order to be granted. “I will assess and approve such exceptions directly if there are really extraordinary donors for whom this is difficult”, he stated. He also said 40 hours of physical labour was “less than we require of manufacturing workers.”
Mr Musk also seemingly left a lot of space for speculations. To this date, there are no official reports on how the whole process has been going since then. In addition to that, there is no information if the decision is going to be effective immediately. However, some authors think that these steps are purely strategic. As an argument for this thesis, they say Tesla’s executives got the instruction to cut about 10% of the staff in the wake of the new recession.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands
On the other hand, the Dutch government has adopted laws making working from home a legal right. This move put the Netherlands on the list as one of the first nations to do so. This development comes as other US businesses try to lure workers back to offices.
The new regulation is not anticipated to be as problematic for Dutch businesses. According to Eurostat, the acceptance of remote working is greater in this country. According to the data, 14% of the workforce was doing it two years before the pandemic.
The epidemic has sparked a change in how people view their jobs. Many employees hope to keep some of the freedom they have enjoyed over the last two years. However, the problem has become more divisive as businesses try to meet the soaring demand as the epidemic fades.
In the meantime…
Obviously, there are global businesses that have not given up on a trust-based or a remote-first strategy. This allows workers to work from home full-time or to decide when and how to join their team in the office. Some of the global players’ list include Atlassian, Coinbase, Lyft, and SAP, Reddit, Spotify, Twitter, just to name a few.
Other companies are now considering how to reintegrate their staff into the workplace. Or if they even need to after the worldwide epidemic compelled many to swiftly introduce remote working rules. Some companies, like Apple, are experimenting with a hybrid strategy. They call for workers to come into the office for only a portion of the week.
However the trends continue to evolve, we can say one thing for sure. We are not the same folks who left for work in early 2020, that much is certain. The collective experience of the previous two years has had a profound impact on how we view work and its place in our lives, transforming it radically.
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