National recommendation on remote work to be lifted in mid-October – workplaces can start preparing for combined remote and office work
The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have reviewed the grounds for the recommendation on remote work. The ministries propose to lift the recommendation on 15 October. The ministries estimate that by then the vaccination coverage will be close to the goal set by the Government. This would enable a safe transition to combined remote and office work.
The COVID-19 situation and vaccination coverage have improved throughout the country. However, the current vaccination coverage for the working-age population has not yet reached the minimum of 80 per cent specified in the Government’s revised hybrid strategy. In addition, a large number of new infections are still reported.
Return to workplaces may begin earlier if this is possible based on risk assessment and the regional epidemiological situation.
Workplaces are responsible for ensuring health security at work
Extending the recommendation on remote work until mid-October gives workplaces, in consultation with employees, an opportunity to flexibly transition to an increasingly hybrid model that combines remote and in-office work. Various aspects regarding the transition to a hybrid work model are discussed nationwide by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, ministries, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, and labour market organisations, and they will be included in guidelines for workplaces.
This preparatory work will provide a smoother transition to new routines in workplaces. As the national recommendations on remote work are being lifted, workplaces assume more responsibility for health security at work. With more people present in the workplace, protection against the coronavirus continues to be necessary.
The Government assessed the different measures to prevent infections in January 2021 and decided on drafting an action plan concerning a gradual process to prepare for opening up society. As part of the action plan for implementing the hybrid strategy, the ministries were tasked with reassessing the grounds for the recommendation and its duration by mid-September. It was also recommended that national preparatory work should begin immediately for the transition from remote work to combined remote and office work.
In their work, the ministries made use of the assessments of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health concerning both the epidemiological situation and its development and impacts of remote work as a measure to prevent COVID-19 infections.
Juha Sarkio, Director General, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 2955 30031, juha.sarkio(at)gov.fi
Raimo Antila, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163094, raimo.antila(at)gov.fi