As a result of the pandemic, teleworking figures never seen before in Spain were reached. The companies followed the Health recommendations to stop the spread of the virus and, for months, this work model grew unstoppably. Three years later, the data is falling and only 14% of the employed population teleworks, according to the latest survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Households published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). But it is not the only option to carry out professional activity outside the office, since there is also the modality known as remote work. They share similarities, but they are not exactly the same.
Moving work home has multiple benefits for the employee, but also for the company. Cost savings are the main one, but also time savings, since it facilitates family reconciliation. The needs to be able to carry out work outside the office were regulated in July 2021 with the Telework Law. Since then, three types of work situations have been distinguished, all of them with their rights and obligations.
Remote work: involves carrying out the work activity that is provided at the home of the worker or in the place chosen by the latter, during all or part of their working day, on a regular basis. It is carried out through the exclusive or predominant use of computer, telematic and telecommunication media and systems.
What is remote work?
This modality of work is defined in the Law of the Workers’ Statute, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 2/2015, of October 23, as one in which “the provision of the labor activity is carried out predominantly at the domicile of the worker or in the place freely chosen by him as an alternative to his face-to-face development in the company’s workplace.”
To carry out its functions, the company can provide the employee with the necessary work equipment, but it is not obliged. Because they can also be owned by the employee and in this case they must be considered in the payment of services. They can be electronic devices, as can be used by those known as ‘freelance’ (designers, photographers, writers…). But they are not always professions linked to technology, since there are many other freelancers, craftsmen, object handlers who work at home or remotely.
What is teleworking?
For its part, teleworking is considered a subspecies of remote work that involves the provision of services with new technologies and requires an Internet connection to be carried out. The law elaborates in this sense and indicates that it is “a form of organization or performance of work using information technologies, within the framework of a contract or an employment relationship, in which a job that could also have been carried out in the premises of the company, are usually carried out outside these”.
Another difference with respect to remote work is that the computer equipment necessary to carry out the professional task must be provided by the company. Otherwise, the worker must be compensated for the entire cost of the computer, screen, keyboard or any other device.
Similarities Between Remote Work and Telecommuting
With the Telework Law it became clear that the agreement for remote work or telework was completely voluntary for workers and employers. You cannot be forced to switch to these modalities, even if one of the parties wishes it. In addition, it is a reversible formula when there is no benefit for the company or the employee, making it possible to return to the face-to-face model, as is happening in many companies.
In any case, for it to be considered remote work or teleworking, it is necessary that at least 30% of the working day is done outside the office in a reference period of 3 months or the equivalent percentage, depending on the duration of the contract. .
In addition, the rights of people who work remotely or telework are always the same as those who carry out their activity in the company’s establishment in person. Their working conditions will not be affected, such as remuneration, job stability, working hours, training and professional promotion.