SUEZ Group has signed a telecommuting agreement with its social partners, which will apply to the entire France region. The agreement ensures wide-scale and sustainable remote working in a post-Covid world. As such, the Group is improving professional working conditions and promoting flexible working practices.
The use of telecommuting is offered to all SUEZ employees in France whose activity allows it. The agreement, which is on a voluntary basis, provides an average telecommuting schedule of two days per week on average over the calendar year.
Widespread during the health crisis, telecommuting has ensured service continuity, enabled the development of trusting relationships with regards to team management, and helped to limit the risk of exposure to Covid-19. The Group’s employees welcomed telecommuting in an internal survey sent out in May and expressed their willingness to make it a long-term practice. Accordingly, SUEZ’s top management and social partners engaged in discussions on new ways of working and reaffirmed their desire to promote an agile, flexible workplace for employees across the board, while at the same time, ensuring a better work-life balance for all.
Isabelle Calvez, SUEZ Group Chief Human Resources Officer, commented: “Covid-19 has completely changed our working lives and practices as well as our daily habits. We must learn from the best practices developed during such unprecedented times. 25% of SUEZ employees worked from home during the lockdown. We wish to make a success of telecommuting, but in order to do so, some key factors are required. These include: taking responsibility, working independently, and fostering mutual trust between line managers and their teams of staff. Constantly looking towards the future, we want to demonstrate that intellectual and collective resilience within the Group allows us to modernise our relationship with others, and create new and cutting-edge working practices. Our ambition is to sustainably roll out telecommuting practices. By working from home, our employees, who are keen to thrive in a calmer working environment which is more conducive to concentration, will be unburdened by travel times. In turn, they will deliver a consistently high performance while reducing their environmental footprint.”
“Despite the difficult circumstances, the CFDT commends the effective negotiations undertaken to conclude this agreement. This marks the first step towards better working conditions for all employees. Firstly, the agreement protects purchasing power, Furthermore it protects employees from social isolation since working hours are allocated with their consent. Equally, by championing employee wellbeing in the workplace and preventing a ‘digital drift,’ this agreement is part of our ambitious future plans on the social level.”commented Cédric Tassin, SUEZ Group CFDT Trade Union Coordinator
“The CFE - CGC is the trade union in charge of the negotiations. We believe the Group’s telecommuting agreement represents genuine progress for SUEZ employees. The collaborative approach provides much needed flexibility for managers and their employees. Both must tackle work obstacles and do their jobs in the best possible way on a daily basis.” continued Eric Guillemette, SUEZ Group CFE - CGC Trade Union Coordinator
“The CFTC is proud to have played its part in this nationwide telecommuting agreement which will be available to all of our 29,000 employees in all areas of business throughout France. This is a major
breakthrough for employees, showcasing the innovations of tomorrow’s workplace.” commented Philippe Jacq, SUEZ Group CFTC Trade Union Coordinator
“Telecommuting meets the needs of SUEZ employees. Every day, as they adapt to our fast-changing world, they are experiencing the full power of digitalization. Force Ouvrière welcomes what is an historic agreement for SUEZ. Great job, everyone!” Noui Bourahli, SUEZ Group FO Trade Union Trade Union Coordinator
Appendix: Main agreement items
An agreement for all employees who qualify for telecommuting
All employees of SUEZ Group France, regardless of contract type or seniority;
The position held must be compatible with telecommuting.
The employee must have developed good individual organizational skills as well as proven autonomy in their specific post.
The employee’s home must be fit for remote working purposes, i.e. a workspace arranged for ease of use and peace of mind with a secure broadband connection.
The employee must meet all requirements in terms of owning a comprehensive home insurance policy.
All employees interested in telecommuting must make a formal request to their line manager. Employees must also fill out an initial profile form, supported by objective evidence of their suitability for telecommuting. The main criteria include: compatible workstation, proven autonomy, home fit for telecommuting, certificate of comprehensive home insurance with a working from home clause.
Telecommuting to suit your schedule
Unless otherwise stated, telecommuting will be practiced on a full-day basis for two days per week on average over the calendar year.
It is not compulsory to set aside specific telecommuting days on a weekly basis.
Conversely, it is crucial that we allocate group timeslots in person since this ensures social contact and maintains teamwork. As such, we will draft a provisional schedule for your telecommuting days, which will be shared with your line manager.
As required by operations or on-call duties, the employee must travel to work in the company’s offices.
Working practices to suit your schedule
Telecommuting is not compulsory.
An initial three-month telecommuting adaptation period is organized for interested employees as they transition to teleworking.
Telecommuting may be stopped at any given moment, upon request by the employee or line manager (subject to approval by a senior manager).
Equipment and expenses
The employee who spends part of their working week telecommuting benefits from the following:
To perform their tasks during telecommuting, the employee will receive a company laptop as well as a secure remote VPN access if and where necessary.
The company will also offer a conference call solution to telecommuting employees that guarantees privacy. For instance, the company may connect an employee’s phone device to their computer. Alternatively, depending on the employee's position, the company may set up Skype Enterprise or provide a company cell phone. Regarding the purchase of computer and office equipment, the Group’s Purchasing Department may negotiate special rates for interested employees.
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