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BEERG Newsletter - Future Work: A round-up of recent developments

Writing in City AM, Helen Brand, the chief executive of ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), discusses the importance of making hybrid working work. Brand explains that the “collaboration and engagement challenges associated with hybrid working help to explain why a fifth of UK accountants, and more than half of accountants globally, still work full time in the office.” 

But this needs to be balanced against the fact that 87% of ACCA survey respondents would like to work remotely for at least one day a week, and the data also indicates that workers with hybrid arrangements are less likely to suffer from mental health issues, meaning a lower chance they will take time off work. Brand writes: 

“Hybrid working is ultimately a win-win for both employers and employees. It is good for employees’ mental health and helps previously excluded people to become more visible. At the same time, it brings greater choice to employers by enabling them to recruit from the broadest possible talent pool. It’s in everyone’s interests that we make hybrid working work,” 

Automaker Stellantis says its remote work policy boosted the ranks of women in top jobs and helped to attract and retain female talent. As of December, women held 27% of leadership roles, up from 24% a year earlier. The company hopes to have women in 30% of its leadership positions by 2025. Four of its 14 car brands are run by female chief executive officers, including Peugeot and Chrysler. Stellantis chief human resources and transformation officer Xavier Chereau said gender parity is "a pillar of our HR policy." On Wednesday, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares signed a United Nations commitment to gender equality.

An interesting report from the think tank Bruegel says that before COVID-19, the incidence of structural telework in the European Union was flat, at around 3% of all employees. In 2020, the rate jumped to 11% because of social-distancing measures. This development, says the think tank, is expected to have lingering effects “as workers now demand more flexible working conditions, including the possibility to telework. This change is also taking place on the labour demand side, with employers increasingly advertising remote work possibilities.” 

Remote job vacancies could potentially be filled by job seekers from any country, but there is currently little data on cross-border remote work, the report notes. Traditional cross-border work, where workers cross the border each day, was done by 1.5 million Europeans in 2019. While traditional cross-border work accounts for less than 1% of EU employment, the potential for remote cross-border work is much greater, Bruegel argues. It suggests that the EU should legislate for a special status from cross-border remote workers which would help clarify legal, social security and tax issues. 

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Authors: Tom Hayes

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