Estonian agencies have 352 people working remotely on permanent basis
Administrative agencies in Estonia have given 352 public servants greater freedom to regulate their time through the right to permanently work from home.
Estonia's administrative policy program aims to keep the relative importance of central government employees based in Tallinn under 44.7 percent. This is to make sure rural areas have enough qualified and motivated workers.
Silver Salla, manager of the Ministry of Finance's state buildings project, said that people are the most effective if they can work where they want to work.
"People are so mobile today that saying they can only work at the ministry would mean a lot of missed work. In truth, the practical situation has for a long time seen public servants work where they can - whether it's from the airport all the way to Brussels or from their country home," Salla said.
For Rein Kalle, head of the circular economy department of the Environmental Board, this means working in various offices in different parts of Estonia and doing things on the go.
"For example, I start in the morning by going over my emails before dropping my phone in my pocket and riding my bike to the office during which I have a meeting. Last year, I decided to spend a year working in Italy," Kalle described.
Kalle also pointed out that a considerable part of his team works outside of the capital Tallinn, which has expanded their reach.
"We started hiring new people where they live. It was a regional policy measure on the one hand, while it was also a good opportunity to involve capable people who did not wish to move to Tallinn," he said.
Kaur Kõue, adviser at the energy and natural resources department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, works from Saaremaa and very rarely visits the Tallinn office.
"I work from home, while I also have a small office in the Saaremaa Municipality government building. I can distribute my work time between home and here in the office," Kõue said.
He described working remotely as effective but not a good fit for everyone.
"You can get more work done at the expense of commuting - that is perhaps the greatest benefit."
Communication with colleagues is said to suffer the most.
"The flip side is perhaps difficulty managing remotely working colleagues. Simply because eye-to-eye contact, discussions seem simpler, more logical and familiar as a way of working," Salla offered.
He added that employers often promote remote working as it makes no sense to confine employees to within office walls.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski