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Keep calm and work from home: Here's how to do it right
16 March 2020 @ 11:21

IF YOU LIVE and work in Spain right now and your job is of the type you can do from home, it's very likely your firm will be telling you tomorrow – if it hasn't already – that you should keep calm, stay indoors and open your laptop. Although the government has decided not to oblige companies by law to have their staff work from home, if your rôle permits it, you have a very good case to request it and are strongly advised to do so.

In the event you have to go into work, wear a mask – even if it's one you bought from the DIY shop for last time you did some tile-cutting or drilling – they're not perfect, but if you cannot get your hands on a proper surgical mask, it'll help. Also, stay at least one to two metres from all your colleagues, and take your own hand sanitiser (you can get it at the supermarket or chemist) if your firm does not have its own on the premises, or if it's been plundered by everyone else. Surgical gloves – nylon if you're allergic to latex – are also ideal.

If you're running a bar or restaurant, you won't be allowed to open, but can still do home deliveries – the same applies about masks and keeping a distance from customers you deliver to, but it can be a way of helping you continue to earn money until the shutdown is over.

For those of you who are already planning to get your workstations in place at home from tomorrow morning, this may be something you're used to already, or it may be complete new territory – so here's what the experts in Spain say about how to get your job done effectively without going into the office.

In fact, it could be good news for Spanish workers, since if it functions well nationwide, companies may be more willing to allow it long-term or permanently, or at least for part of the week – which could be ideal if you have family commitments, such as small children or elderly relatives, and may give you freedom to choose your 'office' in future (a café, the park, a hotel room with Wi-Fi on any continent, or a relative's home if you're visiting your country of origin).


Employees can legally work from home, but cannot be forced to

The ministry of work and social economy has issued a guide to working from home for novices, which recalls that, in accordance with Article 13 of the Workers' Statute, a written contract should be drawn up allowing 'distance working'. This does in fact mean that if you have a job with a contract rather than being self-employed, it does not impede you from home-working – your firm is quite at liberty to give you licence to do so if it would suit you and the company.

But no company can force you to work from home if that's not already part of your usual job description, and they cannot change your employment conditions unilaterally. Working away from the office, without supervision (nobody to give you guidelines in person, or ask advice of, and also taking on a great deal more responsibility) constitutes a major change in the terms of your employment agreement, which can only be made with your full, willing consent. Even collective bargaining through unions cannot impose home-working on the whole team.



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