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Teleworking in Europe: an overview (06/01/2022)

Following recent government announcements, you and your employees are probably among the 60% of people who will be teleworking more. 

What if you took advantage of this period to boost distance language training in your company?

The COVID-19 pandemic is still forcing us to rethink our lifestyles and our daily lives. In the professional world, it has forced many companies to resort to teleworking over the past two years. 

For the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, teleworking measures have increased in Europe. Today we present an overview of teleworking in Europe.


In France, the Minister of Labour, Elisabeth Borne, has decided to opt for teleworking to stop the spread of the virus. She called on companies to plan three to four days of teleworking from the beginning of the school year.

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that teleworking would be compulsory from 3rd January. Non-compliant companies risk penalties: a fine of 1,000 euros per employee up to a maximum of 50,000 euros.


The Netherlands is the strictest European country in terms of measures. The entire population has been re-confined from 19th December to 14th January. Teleworking is mandatory as much as possible.


Since Monday 20th December, teleworking has been made mandatory in Switzerland. Teleworking is to be implemented “where it is feasible and practicable, based on the type of activity”. This measure can be monitored by the police and work inspectors, as it deals with occupational health.


In Belgium, teleworking has been compulsory since the beginning of December; at least four days a week at home and one day in the office. In addition, the end-of-year holidays have been extended to allow for a longer period between the holidays and the return to work and school.

In case of non-compliance with the teleworking requirements imposed by the federal government, the following sanctions are applicable to companies: administrative fine (200€ to 2000€) or criminal fine (400€ to 4000€). This amount must be multiplied by the number of workers concerned. 


In Greece, in companies and public services, workers must switch to 50% teleworking from 3rd January until 16th January.


In an attempt to stem a fifth wave that is hitting Germany hard, the country is banking on a massive return to teleworking. According to the proposed law, German employers would be obliged to offer employees the possibility of working from home if there is no “compelling business reason” to come to the office. Anyone coming to work would also be required to prove that they are vaccinated or have tested negative.


In Italy, since 15th October, employees in the public and private sectors are required to have a Green Pass (vaccination or negative test) to access their workplace. Those who do not have one are considered absent from day one and therefore lose their salary. However, they do not risk suspension, dismissal or other disciplinary consequences. 

This regulation refers to access to the workplace, which obviously means the “physical” workplace of employees, thus excluding all employees working from home (except on days when they physically access the workplace).

These rules, which are currently in force, will be discussed again at a Council of Ministers meeting on 5th January 2022.


In Spain, on the other hand, there is a culture of presenteeism. There is no obligation; large companies practise some teleworking, whereas in smaller ones it is less apparent. The law has been reformed to facilitate teleworking, but in practice it is not yet very prevalent. Instead of making it easier for Spaniards to telework, the country wants to attract foreigners. These are the so-called digital nomads that they want to attract with tax and other benefits, to telework. However, new measures seem to be coming with the current fifth wave of the pandemic.


In the UK, the measures include: a return to teleworking and the introduction of the vaccine passport in certain areas in England.

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced in early December, a tightening of restrictions to stop the spread of the pandemic in the UK, including a return to teleworking. On 13th December, the government asked employees to work from home “if possible”. 

However, “home working” is not compulsory and never has been. But the Prime Minister’s tone has changed since the first lockdown. In 2020, the message was clear: work at home unless it is impossible. Now the message is blurred: work at home if you can, go to work if you must. The government merely recommends that those who have to go to work should test themselves regularly, but does not make it a requirement. Wales is an exception in the UK, where teleworking is mandatory. Companies risk a fine of £1,000 and employees £60.


While Northern European countries have always been keener on the concept of the home office than their neighbours, this new way of working is becoming more common in all Member States. According to numerous studies, European employees want to continue teleworking a few days a week and many companies are ready to meet this demand, given the possibilities it offers.

What if you took advantage of this teleworking period to boost distance language training in your company?

Less time spent commuting can also mean more time for training for your employees! Our lessons are available at any time, remotely and learners can take advantage of our video-conferencing tool to “humanise” their lessons. Language lessons are also a way of encouraging social interaction and avoiding the complete isolation of employees.

Contact us now to find out more about our language training offers!