Life balance

All practices can be found in detail in Life balance: work, care, rest, and personal time (Local and Regional Time Agenda, topic 1, March 2022)

Smart working, e-work and flexible times

Smart working, e-work and flexible times

The Metropolitan Area of Milan boasts a solid tradition in promoting work-life balance solutions, e-work and specific projects to support parenting within the office. Every year, as part of the three-year Smart-working Organisation Plan (POLA), the Administration adapts new projects to meet the needs of its employees and to grant efficient services to metropolitan citizens.

The pandemic made it necessary to introduce smart working as an active solution to curb the spread of COVID-19. This process of “forced digitisation” has today allowed smart working to gain currency. On 31 March 2021 three internal documents (POLA, Performance Plan and Positive Actions Plan) confirmed the positive nature of the smart work model: it changes how we see the working environment, trains our focus on objectives and enhances the organisation’s productivity.

The Metropolitan Area of Milan additionally affirms that e-work projects are valuable solutions to meeting employee needs. The Administration provides flexible time schedules and part-time options to allow parental and child care.

Metropolitan Area of Milan

Meeting charter

Meeting charter

The meeting charter is the result of transversal work carried out internally. It is a guide to good practice for internal working sessions, which applies to everyone and fulfils the following objectives:

  • Respect everyone’s time by regulating meeting times
  • Save time by keeping meetings short and efficient
  • Reduce travel time through new remote meeting practices and the use of available tools.

The proposals put forward are essentially common sense and help people learn how to live and work together. Each of the employees is invited to try to put them into practice, taking into account the needs of the service and the goal of quality public service.

Strasbourg

Testing telework on a large scale

Testing telework on a large scale

The telework experiment within the establishment has made it possible to prepare the roll-out of this form of work. The experiment steering committee decided to test potentially difficult situations: complete services via telework, complete hierarchical chain, jobs which could not be teleworked (switchboard operator, ecoguard), all categories of jobs. The experiment lasted one year and involved 150 people.

Eurometropolis of Lille

Teleworking away from home

Teleworking away from home

A network of co-working spaces has been formed and a website, “Bureaux à rallonge”, has been created to promote telework in co-working spaces among companies and employees. In parallel, trials have involved a telework spot that gives employees the chance to telework during rush hour in a public space (media library, etc.), thus doing away with commutes without modifying working hours.
“À la bonne heure !”, a collaborative application, was created to complete those actions.
Employees use the app to enter their office arrival and departure times, which makes it possible to identify peak hours and avoid them, in particular by teleworking during peak hours.

Rennes

Decalogue for better time organisation

Decalogue for better time organisation

The decalogue emerged as part of the Time Agreement of Barcelona, and aims to move towards a healthier, more egalitarian and more efficient organisation of time. The decalogue offers ten measures that cover various aspects of employees’ reality at the city council:

  1. Striving for more rational meeting schedules
  2. Promoting virtual meetings to reduce the environmental impact
  3. Cutting the number of meetings and making them more productive
  4. Guaranteeing the right to digital disconnection
  5. Avoiding working on weekly rest days
  6. Bringing lunch times forward
  7. Reducing working lunches to a minimum
  8. Promoting a physical and psychosocial health plan for the well-being of people in the organisation and taking into account the use of time
  9. Building a safe and efficient teleworking system through consensus
  10. Disseminating information and promoting greater familiarity with and application of this ten-point plan in our daily routine

Publication of the decalogue was followed by a dissemination plan for all employees that included:

  • Physical version of the document and associated merchandising (stickers and bookmarks)
  • Digital version of the document and associated communication materials

Barcelona Provincial Council

The home (“smart”) working plan

The home (“smart”) working plan

Milan City Hall is the largest employer in the city, with approximately 14,000 employees operating in its various divisions and departments. During the pandemic the main need was to allow for most of them to work safely distanced while maintaining city services. In the new ordinary, there still exists a need to relieve congestion in transport (51% of city employees reside outside the city limits) and public spaces, but now the primary goal is to proceed to a widespread new conception of work for civil servants, allowing more personal freedom and the opportunity to better balance work, personal time and caregiving needs – in exchange for increased commitment and responsibility in their everyday work.

Happier and more relaxed employees with shorter commutes who are free to choose when to concentrate on work, whether at home or in other suitable spaces of their choosing, should guarantee better output and improved results. Home working is also a great way to improve the workforce’s digital and networking skills. This is how work becomes “smart”. Only a limited range of contact-based activities are excluded.

Milan City Hall issued revised criteria for remote working in May 2021. All employees, including middle and top management, can apply – if and when their activities are compatible with remote work. Each employee must sign an individual agreement with the head of his/her unit, detailing the maximum number of remote working days per month, the activities to be carried out and the expected, measurable results. Work may be performed between 7.00am and 9.00pm, for a daily maximum of 7.15 hours. On average, most employees work from home two days a week and spend the rest of their working time at the office. Employees in particular conditions can extend their home working quota.

Milan

Teleworking as a tool for life balance

Teleworking as a tool for life balance

The City of Strasbourg was a pioneer in the development of telework in a public administration in 2013. Launched on an experimental basis, this new mode of work
organisation became common law in 2018. The
city has also set up a telework observatory to measure the impact of telework on the organisation of work and life and to formulate
proposals for its evolution.

The City of Strasbourg hopes to modernise the community at large in response to the evolution of work generated in particular by information and communication technologies and by constraints linked to sustainable development.

Telework is open to all EMS staff with teleworkable tasks and workers with disabilities, and there is the possibility to telework two set days a week at home or in a third place. Computer and telephone equipment is provided. Since the COVID-19 health crisis in 2020 when 3,200 agents were made to work remotely, fresh deliberations have helped to make the system more flexible and to increase the number of days teleworked.

Strasbourg

The Nearworking Project

The Nearworking Project

A wide-ranging remote working plan was implemented by Milan City Hall in 2021 through the Smart-working Organisation Plan (Piano Organizzativo Lavoro Agile, POLA). It met with considerable success and helped to decongest traffic and make working spaces less crowded. However, not all City Hall employees find the best working conditions at home, as they often lack the necessary space and circumstances to make the most of this opportunity.

In September 2021 Milan City Hall arranged to make eight of its workplaces available to nearworkers not normally employed there. Reservable workstations were set up for those
interested. At the same time, other suitable locations were sought in cooperation with public
utility firms and private companies (through the Smart Working Community project, thanks to the collaboration with the Milano Smart City Alliance program) and in co-working spaces around the city, in order to provide more options for commuters from the wider metropolitan area.

The project continues as more options are considered and studies focused on public employees’ inter-city mobility aim to pinpoint the best locations near transport hubs. The possibility of equating remote work in City Hall workplaces (which qualifies as “regular” work) and remote work in private or other spaces (which qualifies as “home” work) is also being examined. The interaction with employees of public utilities and private companies is considered a bonus as public/private interaction unfortunately remains uncommon in Italy.

Milan

Menstrual flexibility leave

Menstrual flexibility leave

Menstrual flexibility leave aims to make it easier for workers to adapt work rhythm to the menstrual cycle in those cases that may affect the individual’s well-being and work performance.

This leave, an initiative and proposal of union groups, was approved by Girona City Council in plenary assembly. By making a request to the HR department, Girona City Council workers who need it can apply for up to eight hours of flexible menstrual leave, which allows them to be absent or modify the working day schedule.

Flexible hours may cover a period of up to three months. This leave is always granted, and no proof is required.

Girona

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