it is necessary to follow the laws and how they are being modified
It is necessary to follow the laws and how they are being modified

As an alternative to cut costs and at the same time make the work environment more flexible, many companies have adopted and encouraged home office policies for their employees. Now, with the new labor legislation – which comes into force this Saturday (11/11) -, among the dozens of articles that change the text of the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT) there are definitions that formalize and structure the discipline of telework.

According to a 2017 World at Work survey, in the United States, 89% of North American companies already have structured policies for working from home. In Brazil, as the activity was not regulated, many companies did not adopt the practice due to legal fears. According to a study carried out by SAP Consultoria, with the reform, telecommuting is expected to grow by around 15% per year.

For many, working from home has its perks. In addition to reducing costs with rent and structure for companies, employees find comfort in not having to face, for example, the traffic of large cities to get to the workplace and, consequently, tend to focus better on their tasks.

“Measurement of results varies from case to case. But I can comment on a recent example in a non-traditional segment in terms of flexibility: a public agency here in São Paulo has been using Citrix solutions since April this year”, says Luis Banhara, general director of Citrix Brazil. The software company develops desktop virtualization applications, including applications such as XenApp, XenDesktop and NetScaler. In the pilot project, 30 of the public agency's 90 inspectors were allowed to work from home for up to two days a week. According to the project coordinator, the team's productivity increased from 15% to 40%.

But even in the face of the potential of adopting the home office, one of the major concerns of companies concerns the control of information. In a remote working environment, how can you be sure that sensitive data will not be vulnerable to cyber-attacks or even improperly shared? In the shadow of mega attacks like WannaCry, Petya and the latest Bad Rabitt, companies have seen the urgency of increasing IT investments.

“Adopting telework is closely linked to a strategic decision within the company. Because you have a set of talents and the question is how best to dispose of these talents, how to deliver the right tools so that this talent can be productive and so that it can also help you in this perspective of the cost matrix that the company wants to have”, argues Banhara. For the executive, technology, then, presents itself as the great enabler of the home office. “If the employer uses the right tools, he does not lose control over the activities that the employee develops and guarantees the security of the company's data”, he points out.

Sobratt – Brazilian Society of Telework and Teleactivity has been following the discussion of the legal aspects of the modality. “Every novelty brings insecurities until it is fully understood”, emphasizes Wolnei Tadeu Ferreira, president of Sobratt.

Faced with many doubts and controversies on the subject, Sobratt and Citrix came together to comment and clarify some points, ranging from infrastructure and obligations of companies and employees regarding precious items related to information security. Check it out in the text below.

1. Does the company need to provide infrastructure to perform remote work?It depends. There is still a consensus that the actual costs paid by the worker are those that are not directly measurable, such as water, electricity, spaces used in the worker's own residence. The additional expenses necessary to perform the services must be borne by the company.

“My reading is that the actual costs paid by the worker are those that are not directly measurable, such as water, electricity, furniture used in the worker's own residence. The additional expenses necessary to carry out the services must be borne by the company”, says Wolnei Tadeu Ferreira.

2. Does the company not need to control hours or pay overtime?
It depends. Work will be controlled by tasks and not by hours worked, so there will be no need to pay overtime, unless monitoring the activity is required.

“The law recognizes that there is no need to control hours. The important thing is to monitor the productivity of employees. With more flexibility, they can work anytime, without worrying about traffic, lack of data or business applications”, says Ferreira

3. Employees in remote work will never hang up?
Is not true. Employee will be measured by their productivity and not by the hours worked.

“Maintaining a work routine similar to that of the office helps organize those who are working remotely. But it is also necessary to enjoy a hobby or physical activities to balance personal and professional life. In addition, it is essential that the family of the employee who is working from home understand that he has tasks to deliver and a journey to fulfill at home”, comments Banhara.

4. Legally, is the remote work employee responsible for leaking company information?
Yup. Ransonware claimed millions of victims this year for Windows update failure. Companies become responsible for updating software on users' personal devices. Information security has to control this, even in face-to-face work.

5. Is the company more vulnerable to information leaks with remote workers?
It depends. If there is no company concern about the data, there could be vulnerabilities. The key is not to focus on the device (because the employee may have outdated security software or the device could be stolen) and instead focus on data security. Individualized access policies must be created, with various access control and identification tools.

6. Does the company that offers a remote work option have better talent retention rates?
Yup. According to the Oxford Study, this is one of the best ways to retain talent with 83% of responses.

“The 'new' workers are increasingly demanding and looking for a balance between personal and professional life. Today, retaining talent is one of the most difficult tasks for managers,” says Banhara.

7. Mobility technologies are enabling remote work.
Yup. They address key corporate issues such as productivity control, data security and flexibility for employees.

“Hospital das Clínicas de São Paulo managed to reduce the time of consultations to the public with virtualization, even with expressive numbers: 124 thousand outpatient consultations and another 60 thousand consultations only in the pharmacy that provides free medicines to the population, exemplifies Banhara.

8. Attending the employer's premises to carry out specific activities does not detract from the home office.
Truth. The legislation itself (arts. 75-A to 75-E of Law 13.467/2017) provides for this situation, since in many cases it is necessary for the employee to attend the company for meetings, training, socializing and other activities, which does not detract from the telecommuting.

“Despite working remotely, there are times when eye contact is necessary. Each company can define the rules for remote work”, says Ferreira.

9. In the home office, the company does not have the same responsibility with regard to Occupational Medicine and Safety.
Is not true. The new legislation now requires that, in these cases, the worker is ostensibly guided by the company regarding safety standards, and must do so according to the activity and position to be occupied.

“It is still the responsibility of the company to ensure the safety of the employee, whether he works from home or in the office”, comments Ferreira.

10. Professionals who opt for a home office will have their benefits such as food vouchers and transport vouchers reduced?
Myth. The transport voucher, due when traveling from residence to company and vice versa, continues to be due when the employee has to travel to the company or for some other service activity. In the case of food stamps, if this is an obligation provided for in the union norm, it cannot be subtracted or reduced, except if there is a provision in the norm itself in this sense. Otherwise, the benefit must be maintained. If the benefit is spontaneous by the company, its elimination or reduction may bring an unfair differentiation for those who work in Home Office, being necessary that the company evaluates well if this situation would be strategic.

“Like other points of the new law, there is still a need for a deeper understanding of these issues and a case-by-case analysis”, concludes Ferreira.

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