Minister Carmelo Abela suggested that national policies on remote working in both the public and private sectors should start becoming mandatory. This means that instead of this being dependent on the employee asking to work from home, the choice would depend on the employer. He said this while participating in a webinar organised by Grant Thornton on the challenge of sustainable development.
He explained how one of the lessons of Covid-19 was that you could have workers working from home, while labour productivity would remain the same. At the same time it helps to reduce congestion on the roads and lowers fuel emissions in the air.
He explained how organisations can utilize different models; an example of this would be that workers work three days a week from home and two days from the workplace or vice versa, depending on the demands of each workplace. The Minister said that these are the questions that we should not hesitate to ask. We need to evaluate them so as then to decide.
The decision must be driven by the desire to be more sustainable, so as to enable the economy to grow more sustainably. Ultimately, we are obliged to take care of the world we live in today and, most importantly, to pass on a better world to future generations.
He also spoke about the challenge of sustainable development on an international level. A challenge that needs to be addressed as an international community. Each member country of the United Nations needs to work together to achieve the seventeen sustainable development goals by 2030. He said that at a national level we must all work together, internally in the Government but also within private companies and civil society.
He stressed that this is why sustainable development is an integral part of thegGovernment’s agenda, to the extent that it falls within the responsibility of the Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister. In fact, Malta is one of the few countries that has a specific model of governance for sustainable development in place that is supported by the Sustainable Development Act.
Also participating in this webinar were Michelle Piccinino, Executive Director at the Environment & Resources Authority and Dr Wendy Jo Mifsud, Architect at the Planning Authority. The session was led by Austin Demajo, Partner at Grant Thornton.