Panel Discussion: Onboarding into the Virtual Working World - Risks and Opportunities of Remote Work

Itonboard: Go- live Event in Austria, Tuesday, February 7th - Haus der Begegnung, Innsbruck, Austria. With video.

“3. The Free Movement of People
All EU citizens can move freely within the EU. You can live and work in any EU country. EU citizens can offer their services in any EU country.” (The four freedoms of the European Union)

Remote work means transnational work in a Europe-wide and even global team.

The IT branch shows how it is done: It is not necessary to change the center of your life and move to a foreign country. You can live in your country with your family, your friends in your usual environment and still work in another country. Technically it is no longer a problem today.

As EU citizens, we can work and live anywhere within the EU - in theory. In fact, the different labor and social rights of the individual EU countries make it difficult to live in one country and work virtually for a company in another EU country. Highly qualified IT professionals are thus forced to leave their country and move to the country where the company is based. But not because of work or unemployment, but because of the inhomogeneous labor and social law in Europe.

As part of the Erasmus Plus project ITONBOARD, a panel discussion on onboarding into the virtual working world - risks and opportunities of remote work - took place on Tuesday, February 7th.

At the beginning of the discussion, Christine Baumgartner gave an introduction to ITONBOARD Erasmus Plus Project and their onboarding tools. As a conclusion to the research on the "Blended Remote Internship" guide, she reported that: “Remote work already existed in the IT industry before the pandemic, but with the pandemic, the virtual working world in IT has become indispensable.”

"Onboarding in IT is onboarding in remote work," stated the speaker Christine Baumgartner, project manager and developer of the guide.

In the debate, the speakers discussed how remote work can influence working conditions, labor rights and industrial relations and how onboarding in the virtual working world - with a focus on IT - can work. The target group for the event were prospective IT professionals, young IT professionals and IT professionals from Tyrol, Austria and the EU area, as well as people interested in the virtual world of work. Therefore the discussion was in English.

Erico Andrei from Brazil, manager at the IT company kitconcept from Bonn, and Alessandro Pisa, IT developer at the German IT company Syslab from Munich, reported on their experiences in remote work from the perspective of employees and employers.

For the employer, remote work means making sure that communication works. The communication tools have to be adapted to the team - in terms of different languages, different cultures and different time frames”, explains Erico Andrei.

Alessandro Pisa cites his family ties as the motivation for remote work. "You have to remember that you're not working for yourself", he says.

Ms. Mag. Sybille Regensberger, chairwoman of the UBIT specialist group as representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Domenico Rief LL.M. as representatives of the Chamber of Labor showed the various legal difficulties and obstacles in relation to labor and social law as well as in relation to payroll accounting and tax law aspects from their respective perspective as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Labor.

Dr Jakob Rief addressed the competition of workers between countries.

Ms. Mag Regensberger explained that the biggest problem for the remote employees is social security, which no longer works across countries, and about the problem of bogus self-employment.

Both drew attention to the statutory working hours.

University Prof. Dr. Bernd Gössling, business educator at the University of Innsbruck and also on the advisory board of the Erasmus Plus project Itonboard and Christine Baumgartner, project manager of the Intellectual Outputs on the topic "Blended Remote Internship" discussed the risks and opportunities of onboarding into the virtual working world. How companies can support their new employees and interns in this virtual environment and prepare them for the specific challenges that come with it. This includes, for example, adapted processes, training in the use of virtual tools and the promotion of virtual and real team building activities.

University Prof. Dr. Gössling pointed out that the same remote work is a good solution for one person, but can be very problematic for another person because a high quality of self-management is required.

In the discussion, heated debates continued about competition, social rights and laws and the political discourse at national and EU level.

Finally, Ms. Baumgartner summed it up with the following words:  “The rules and laws regarding labor and social law do not work with remote work. Remote work needs different rules, but remote work needs rules.

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