Teleworking: how Covid has prompted companies to reorganize

According to a study carried out by consulting firm Sia Partners on behalf of the daily newspaper Les Echos, telecommuting, which was introduced on a massive scale by companies during the health crisis, is becoming more widespread. More and more companies are adopting a hybrid working model, with 3 days in the office and 2 days telecommuting. Here's a closer look at the reorganization of work driven by Covid.

Before the health crisis, teleworking was little used by SMEs and ETIs

To study companies' new working models, consultancy firm Sia Partners based itself on company agreements concerning teleworking, 7,800 in all, recorded by the Ministry of Labor between 2018 and 2021.

By 2020, telecommuting had already begun to take hold in companies, as confirmed by the official annual review of collective bargaining published in June 2021. In fact, one out of every two texts dealing with working conditions was devoted to telecommuting.

This trend accelerated in 2021. A total of 3,093 telecommuting agreements and endorsements were recorded, more than double the number for 2019.

While large companies were already interested in teleworking before the health crisis began, SMEs and SMIs couldn't say the same, which explains why teleworking has taken off so strongly in this type of business. Between 2019 and 2021, 2.5 times as many SMEs introduced teleworking as in 2018, and 2.4 times as many SMEs.

Telecommuting and face-to-face work: a new hybrid work model

A large number of companies that had already introduced telecommuting before the Covid-19 pandemic modified their existing arrangements. Telecommuting was limited to one day a week in 44% of agreements and endorsements surveyed in 2019. With the health crisis, this arrangement became a minority, dropping to 25%, while agreements and endorsements setting out two days a week of telecommuting rose from 27% to 40%.

In 2019, the average number of maximum teleworking days per week was 2.01, compared with 2.37 in 2021, with insignificant differences according to company size. In detail, the average in 2021 was :

  • 2.33 days in large companies,
  • 2.39 days in medium-sized companies,
  • 2.36 days in SMEs.

However, companies opting for more than 2 days' teleworking a week remained in the minority. In 2020, 10% of agreements provided for 5 days' telework a week, and only 9% in 2021, i.e. twice as many as in 2019.

In the same year, 17% of company agreements authorized a maximum of 3 days' teleworking per week, a proportion that rose slightly to 19% in 2021. The proportion of agreements providing for 4 days' telework a week remained unchanged, and in 2021, as in 2019, represented 7% of the total.

As a result, many companies have adopted a hybrid working model based on 2 days' teleworking and 3 days' face-to-face work, raising new issues in terms of management and organization. The right to disconnect is one of them, and is increasingly present in agreements. In 2021, 2 out of 3 agreements mentioned it, regardless of company size.