The pandemic has shifted the new normal for everyone around the world. We witnessed countless companies shift to a remote lifestyle to ensure employees would be better protected from contracting the virus.

However, creating the separation between work life and home can become cumbersome when employers fail to create boundaries. According to researchers, some workers feel as if the workday no longer has a stopping point and their weekdays and weekends have no distinction. For workers with children, tending to their children was cited as the largest distraction to fulfilling their remote responsibilities. 

Fortunately, Portugal is stepping up implementing new protocols to help remote workers, sending a message to the world that etiquette work practices are possible and essential to helping employees thrive under the new normal. According to Euronews, Portugal’s new labor laws were approved by the country’s parliament on Friday, Nov. 5. 

“The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated,” Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s Minister of Labour and Social Security told the Web Summit conference in Lisbon last week, according to Euronews.

“Telework can be a ‘game changer’ if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages.”

Now companies will be held accountable and will face penalties for contacting workers outside the confines of their work hours. However, the new protocol does not pertain to companies with fewer than ten employees.

Employees will now have better work conditions alleviating considerable problems that come about when working from home. According to the outlet, while it’s now “forbidden” to watch employees while they work from home, still, the “‘right to disconnect’ – the legal right to switch off work-related messages and devices outside office hours – was rejected by Portuguese MPs.” 

Companies will also now be responsible to compensate employees for higher electricity and internet bills and contribute to any incurred expenses accumulated as a direct result of workers transitioning to working from home (employers can write off the costs as a business expense).

In addition, workers with children will be allowed to automatically work from home until their child turns eight-years-old without the contingency of having to have the arrangement approved by their employer. For workers experiencing loneliness, the new protocols will arrange for employers to set up in-person meetings at least every two months.