Teleworking: taking the debate online
By Ing Abigail Cutajar
Advancements in technology, calls for flexible working hours and ideas on how to reduce running costs saw the concept of teleworking emerging tentatively. However, it was the COVID19 pandemic that catapulted remote working to the forefront of working methods in 2020.
With the need for citizens to distance themselves, work from home became the norm. Because it was needed, many employers no longer viewed telework as a threat. To the contrary, they saw it as their solution to go on with their operations. By time, it was figured out that a worker can still be productive whilst doing the same work from home, instead of their desk at the office.
The forced social distancing however created a problem for those organisations which were not prepared to work remotely. Transferring a business online does not happen overnight: not only is there software to develop and tools to be purchased, but customers have to get used to this new working method as well.
On the other hand, there are economic sectors – such as manufacturing, construction, tourism and transport – where teleworking is impossible due to the nature of the work.
Together with MEP Miriam Dalli, The Malta Chamber’s David Xuereb and Konrad Pule, we have joined forces to deliver their first live webinar on The Digital Future: teleworking and online services. The online seminar will be held through the online conferencing platform Zoom, together with Minister Carmelo Abela and local and foreign stakeholders. Interested participants can register by visiting the events section on the website of The Malta Chamber.
The webinar, taking place on Friday 2nd October at 11am, is open to the public and will look at the lessons learnt from the pandemic and how these can take us into the future. The aim is to understand how these steps forward may be further integrated to support the advancement of our businesses. The partial lockdown introduced new measures where employees had the possibility to break the long-standing tradition and work from home instead of commuting daily to the office. As a result, the reduction in road traffic clearly improved the air quality and our overall wellbeing. On the other hand, it proved to be challenging for those businesses which did not have the right infrastructure – for the business and for the employees themselves – to switch to remote working in such a short timeframe.
The move is being made, but likewise, national policies should shift in line with this change. Incentives should make it easier for businesses to switch to remote working, whilst understanding the long-term benefits of such a change in mentality. The challenge policymakers now face is how to continue protecting the wellbeing of their citizens whilst reaching economic growth at a time of uncertainty.
This webinar is part of the initiatives being organised by MEP Miriam Dalli, Perit David Xuereb, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Ing. Abigail Cutajar, LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction, and Mr. Konrad Pule’, Chair of the Sustainable Mobility Committee, Chamber of Commerce. The accompanying topics on this webinar shall focus on tangible game-changers for an effective transmission towards remote working. Together, we shall explore the working methods employed by successful businesses as well as the effects on workers’ health.