Paris (AFP)

Telework, tested by many employees during confinement, can prove to be very beneficial but it is not without "pitfalls", hence the need to find the right "dose" and to "frame" it with new adapted managerial practices, say specialists.

Nearly a third of employees and companies were teleworking at the end of 2019. They rose to 41% in May 2020, underlines Anne-Sophie Godon-Rensonnet, director of innovation at Malakoff Humanis in her annual barometer devoted to the subject.

Among these teleworkers, "4 out of 10 are new teleworkers", moved from their business premises to five days out of five at home: "more women, intermediate professions, non-managers and smaller businesses", adds this professional during a videoconference Monday organized by the National Agency for the Improvement of Working Conditions (Anact) as part of the quality of life at work week.

Before, the regulars of telework, "especially executives and managers of large companies in Ile-de-France (one employee in two) with significant transport time", practiced it on average six days a month, underlines- she.

Anact, which conducted its own survey of "more than 8,600" employees and public officials, confirms that "47% of them had never teleworked".

However, despite its brutal and forced experimentation, and very unequal telework conditions, the latter is "acclaimed", according to these professionals who first underline the "benefits". The "difficulties", "known" and "sometimes exacerbated during the crisis" remain but "they were not greater than in normal times", they assure.

- Benefits -

According to Malakoff Humanis, employees and business leaders believe that telework allows "a better balance between professional and personal life" (89% vs 93%), more autonomy for 88% of the employees questioned, and "more efficiency "say" nine out of ten employees and seven out of ten managers ".

They also agree that it is "beneficial to health" (76% of employees, 71% of managers), generates less fatigue (86% of employees, 78% of managers). It would have enabled 79% of the employees questioned to make financial savings, without counting a positive impact on the environment.

84% of those questioned by Malakoff Humanis also wish to continue teleworking, 40% of which "occasionally or occasionally" and 44% "on a regular basis". A finding confirmed by Anact who speaks of "88%" of workers who are experienced and who want to continue.

This is not without "pitfalls", warns Christophe Nguyen, occupational psychologist and co-founder of the cabinet Empreinte Humaine, which has carried out three surveys on the "psychological distress" of workers during confinement.

Difficulty separating times and living spaces, complicated exchanges and tensions between employees, technical difficulties, increased workload, work addiction, organizational difficulties ... Telework has been able to create "distress" (depression, exhaustion ) in an "anxiety-provoking" context, he says.

"30% of teleworkers talk about uncertainty and the fear of losing their job, 44% are afraid of failure and feel less productive and frustrated. They deplore hate work and overweight" in a "working environment of degraded work. " 60% also consider that they have "more meetings with longer working hours", assures Mr. Nguyen.


Some teleworkers (27%) see telework as "a constraint as such", of which "72% are in psychological distress". "39% of teleworkers" feel isolated and "53% want more operating rules, which is a real management issue," he said.

In the absence of "new adapted managerial practices", he fears an upsurge in psychosocial risks and even speaks of "e-Taylorization". Indeed, he explains, "54% of employees talk about repetitive work, unpleasant tasks". "50% do not consider themselves consulted for the work that has a direct impact on them" and "two thirds live the" quality prevented "by doing work that should have been done differently".

"Telework can promote creativity but the sense of what we do and the link can only be done with others", he concludes, "convinced that it takes a dose of telework but that all digital will not be enough. "

© 2020 AFP