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In my previous post “my 50th week of teleworking” I did not think relevant to highlight one additional market accelerators identified by Gartner, which may influence the growth of teleworking worldwide: the notion of “”emergency teleworkers”. According to some US analysts, “continued or increasing political unrest, particularly where it includes a possible threat to the security of those in areas of greatest population and business density”, may influence the development of teleworking practice. How is that?

This would be rather a secondary effect. For example, following incidents like the Oklahoma bombings or 9/11 in the United States, remote working increased in the area as a means of keeping businesses going while buildings were restored. Once order was restored, a proportion of “emergency teleworkers” continued to operate in this way for part of their working week.

I thought this kind of situation would not ever apply in such proportion in France. But I was just SO far away from the truth as we have a very peculiar tradition in France…

France, Friday January 29th: More than one million French workers down tools in the first general strike to hit a major industrialised nation since the start of the global financial crisis.

Unions said more than two million public and private sector workers took to the streets across France to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s handling of the economic crisis, saying too much had been done to bail out fat cats and banks, and not enough to protect jobs and help workers make ends meet.

taux grevistesAir traffic controllers, train drivers, teachers, nurses, and tax inspectors were joined by private sector workers including bank clerks and staff from the firm that runs the Paris stock exchange. Some schools were shut, flights were cancelled, and the public transportation network operated on a reduced pace: one tube driver out of two (48%) and 97% of RER’s driver (Paris region’s train transportation) were on strike that day. Cost of the strike according to the government: between €300 and €400 million per day.

I don’t even want to think about what we could do with all that money. What I know, at least in the case of public transportation, is that if we had the possibility to systematically allow people (who, of course, can do so) work from home during strikes, public transportations’ unions would maybe try and figure other ways of being heard than using their very own customers as hostages during their day of protest.

As for myself, that “black” Friday I was (remotely) on time at work and doing business as usual :)


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