Monday's papers: Government tensions, downside to telecommuting, human compost

Ilta-Sanomat examines growing tensions within the cabinet, while Helsingin Sanomat looks at problems in telecommuters' homes.

In the long term, working from home can have a detrimental impact on family members, reports Helsingin Sanomat. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

The Helsinki tabloid Ilta-Sanomat points out (siirryt toiseen palveluun)that in any long-term relationship, partners may sometimes find themselves badly at odds.

The paper says that in the case of the present coalition government headed by Sanna Marin (SDP) - at least on the basis of media reports – the partner parties are at odds with each other all the time.

It notes that in the last parliamentary elections, the Centre Party suffered a defeat at the polls and reluctantly left the government. In trying to raise its profile, the Centre has targeted the Greens. In turn the Greens have fired back, not only at the Centre, but also at its coalition partner, the SDP and even the prime minister has not been spared from criticism for slow action on climate change.

Add internal clashes within the parties and departures from government policy, and Ilta-Sanomat says it's no wonder that the coalition is having a hard time.

Even so, the paper points out that the government has been able to deal well with the coronavirus pandemic and a number of other measures. In a way, it writes, the pandemic saved the government, but now that other issues are coming to the fore, its ability to act is once again being put to the test.

While ideological differences over environmental action and debt management are causing problems, perhaps the most important factor affecting the government’s ability to function is the lack of a strong, decision-making insider circle within the coalition, writes Ilta-Sanomat.

The paper notes that Sanna Marin may have already given signs of future change by saying in a recent interview with Helsingin Sanomat that the National Coalition Party could also be a suitable government partner if enough common ground can be found.

Home office blues

When a home also turns into an office, the situation can become unbearable for family members, writes Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

A Monday morning article in the paper looking at this state of affairs was inspired by a reader's letter saying that because of their spouse's telecommuting, they felt they no longer had a home.

The reader said they had suffered from loneliness and anxiety caused by the situation for almost two years. "Does my spouse’s employer have the right to take my own home from me and turn it into an office?"

Virpi Ruohomäki, a senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, told Helsingin Sanomat that she understands the plight of the reader. A growing body of research has established some of the conflicts and disadvantages of telecommuting.

The contradictions and disadvantages of everyday life caused by telework have also emerged in studies, as have various strategies to deal with these problems.

Some people have simply walked out. Some have managed to resolve the situation by acquiring a larger apartment.

Others hope their spouse would rent a separate office or take work outside the home to a coffee shop or a library.

Many try to balance the situation by staying away from home on days when their spouse is working remotely.

Ruohomäki says that there are things that both telecommuter and their spouses can do to make the situation more tolerable. She provided Helsingin Sanomat with a list of suggestions ranging from finding a separate workplace to minimise disruption to the lives of other family members, to discussing the family situation with employers and demanding they respect the right of the employee's family to their own home.

Almost there

Back to the pages of Ilta-Sanomat which carries a short report by the STT news agency (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that coronavirus vaccine uptake, the number of residents over 12 years of age who have had two doses, on Sunday stood at 79.9 percent – just a hairbreadth from the official target of 80 percent.

According to the report, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said on Sunday that just over 3.9 million people have already received their second dose of the vaccine.

A first dose of vaccine has been given to 86 percent of the population aged 12 and over.

Also, according to THL, 2.2 percent of the vaccinated population in Finland had received a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Sunday.

Human compost

Iltalehti reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that a weekend congress of the youth wing of the National Coalition Party approved a motion calling on the government for a change in legislation to allow for human bodies to be composted.

"We see no reason why freedom of choice could not applied to burials, as well," Matias Pajula, chair of Youth of the National Coalition Party stated in a press release.

Composting human remains is legal in Sweden. According to Pajula, Finland should follow the lead of its western neighbour.

The NCP youth group pointed out that the law already requires respect for the wishes and beliefs of the deceased.

"Composting the human body is more ecological than cremation or burial," Pajula explained.