Work from home has become much more widespread in Slovenia during the coronavirus epidemic, and because its positive effects on the environment environmentalists are calling for legislative changes that would allow more of such work in the future as well. Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj supports the idea.
The Labour Inspectorate, which has to be notified of work from home, until recently counted the number of workers working from home but now these figures are so big that it only keeps track of the companies using this form of work.
In the whole of last year, 2,062 employees were reported to be working from home, while this year 8,665 companies reported this form of work until 30 April, the inspectorate told the STA, meaning that tens of thousands of people now work from home.
Although some people would rather go to the office, environmentalists are very happy with the arrangement and would like the government to enable more work from home after the epidemic as well.
President Borut Pahor’s advisory committee for climate policy, comprised of some of the most notable environment experts, is also pushing for this new green practice.
Listing positive effects of working from home, Jonas Sonnenschein of NGO Umanotera highlighted less traffic, which means less pollution, less noise, and less traffic jams. This is particularly important for Ljubljana, he told the STA.
But there are also some downsides, he admitted. One is heating. “Especially in the winter, heating contributes significantly to the environmental imprint. Big business buildings have more efficient heating systems than average households, so in the winter it would be better to reduce heating at home and work in offices,” he said.
Another downside is that individuals must often buy additional IT equipments to be able to work from home.
But Umanotera believes positive effects outweigh the negative although admitting that social aspects must also be considered.
Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj supported the idea of companies encouraging work from home after the epidemic as well in an interview published in Delo’s Saturday supplement.
He said a thorough analysis was needed to determine which employees could optimally work from home if they wished so.
He thinks working from home could also help people balance their personal and professional life.