Teleworking, a developing practice in France


Teleworking is a practice that is developing within French companies. Even though employers like to have an eye on their employees, outside factors are now pushing for a slow, but anyhow real change in mentality.

Heat waves, traffic, pollution and changes with school times have shattered the customary working hours of 9 to 6.

As a result French law has recently added the possibility for French employees to claim the right to telecommuting. This does not mean that employers have to abide by this law, but being given the right to ask is a small move in changing practices.

The evolution is real and in 2019 29% of French employees are now telecommuting on a full time or part time basis, according to a study by Malakoff Mederic Humanis, a famous organization that provides employee social protection.

Is teleworking effective? 

Even If employees largely like the idea,  teleworking is still being refused by 6 out of 10 companies. 

According to a number of employers, this approach of work is seen as a “superfluous” desire.

As a result, tensions can arise between employees and employers who wish to telework.

Employees who may be denied teleworking may be half as satisfied with their employers. For a majority of employees, teleworking greatly improves their well-being. It is also a mark of confidence and commitment from the main stakeholders.

This working practice can involve a reorganization of the processes which can lead to a technological change aimed at ensuring effective communication between employees and managers.

Human Resources managers do not always appreciate this approach as employees have to adapt to new tools, and resistance to change is a major concern for them.

For this practice to develop in good conditions, it is essential to begin by changing the mentalities within companies.

The Managers point of view

For 79% of managers, they believe that telework can increase work efficiency. It can help to reduce absenteeism and can improve exchanges if implemented globally.

However, various difficulties can arise in this new organization of work : 

  • The collective link can be damaged
  • Task delegation may not optimized
  • Working time and workload regulation are not 100% controllable

The reluctance of managers

 Despite this strong interest from leaders, in France, more than 20% of leaders refute teleworking!

Firstly, 45% of respondents fear the risks related to the security of IT tools, 31% blame managers and 28% want to avoid administrative burden. Others question the hierarchical link that can be defined.

Why such reluctance?

In France, the reluctance of managers is the second cause of anti-telework patterns. That is why telecommuting has not been developed further within the country.

The role of managers is essential in the success.

Indeed, it is not a fact that the responsibilities are reduced or that the hierarchical link is damaged because it is inaccurate.

Teleworking enables managers to learn about delegation, accountability and gaining confidence in their employees.

The reluctance of managers towards teleworking is based on several factors:

  • Problems managing their service
  • Exchanges are more complex
  • The fear of losing managerial status
  • Some fear that their staff may not be able to disconnect from their work
  • Mixing one’s professional and personal not given to everyone

You want to go ahead and implement telecommuting ?  here are some tips :

  • Limit telecommuting to 1-2 days a week
  • Organize training and sensitization specific to teleworking
  • Ask your teleworkers to communicate their schedules
  • Maintain links between employees and employers and organize group meetings remotely
  • Clearly define work arrangements
  • Use the right communication tools
  • Set rules
  • Set up meeting spaces

En savoir plus sur l'auteur de l'article

Carine Curtet
Conseil RH • Conseil en recrutement • Coaching Emploi / Carrière • Outplacement

Diplômée du MBA de Mc Gill University au Canada, j’accompagne des entreprises dans le domaine des Ressources Humaines depuis plus de 20 ans. Coach pour votre vie professionnelle ou coach pour votre vie personnelle, je vous aide à trouver les solutions qui vous conviennent.