Guest Blog: Smarter working in the Czech Republic - trends and new challenges - By Jakub Heikenwalder

In 2011 the subject of teleworking and smarter working started to be discussed in the Czech Republic and projects were identified with the objective of assessing what the possibilities were for the implementation of new ways of working. I was lucky to be connected to some of these projects and have the opportunity to meet many interesting people and hear their experiences. One of the most important things for me was meeting and cooperating with Phil Flaxton from Work Wise UK.

At first, when we saw the wide range of the subject matter, we were rather concerned, as to whether the situation in the Czech Republic could ever be similar or even the same as that of the UK. Phil Flaxton once told me, that thanks to the cooperation and sharing of Knowledge we should be able to achieve the same progress in 5 years which the UK did over the last 25 years.

The big difference from last year is now the increased concern of the legal coverage of smarter ways of working. After many years our Government, which was elected in 2014, has now started the discussion about legislation. It has also established support of families and regions, with focus on unemployment. The first step of the discussion at a Government level will be a conference in Prague on 18th of June, which will focus on legislation in the area of smarter working. Speakers at this conference will include representatives from our Government, the private sector and abroad. The main speakers are our Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek, Vice-President of Senate Parliament ČR Miluše Horská, Manager of employers' organizations Südwestmetall and from Germany Marion J. Johannsen and Phil Flaxton from Work Wise UK.

In the broader picture we can see major improvement in the area of internet connectivity and use of digital technologies, across different industries and activities. In all companies there are growing numbers of those using cloud technology with the combination of BYOD policies (Bring Your Own Device). This attitude of companies with employees preferring the flexible ways of working, especially the younger people, leads to even further spreading and using of smarter working.

The biggest difference after five years is that flexible working and remote working are no longer something unusual or used as a benefit available only to senior managers, but now many companies and even public sector members use them on a daily basis.

In my opinion there are still have many topics and issues to be discussed and covered in the months to come. But, I believe that thanks to cooperation and inspiration throughout Europe and the World, with knowledge sharing and further development of digitalization of plenty human activities, we will develop and use smarter ways of working further and more effectively than ever before. And, we will support increased efficiency, new employment creation and most of all a better quality of life of all the people. 

Ing. Jakub Heikenwälder

Organizational Development & HR Project Manager

AXA Czech Republic & Slovakia