Before the current covid-19 pandemic, our daily work routine was essentially a trip to the office where we spent our 8 hours in a shared space with colleagues, and a trip back at the end of the day. When quarantine was imposed many companies were forced to send their workers home for their safety, and to implement remote working as the new standard. This was an easy swap for the companies who were already familiar with it and technologically prepared, but for others this change was almost painful. A first week with several phone calls, video conferences, technical problems, trouble organizing tasks, and some difficulty distinguishing work from personal life – Does that sound familiar to you? Yeah, you're not alone.
Teleworking is nothing new and is even quite common in other countries, as it offers some advantages over traditional work. For example, it can eliminate the need of having a physical office, freeing up space and resources, and open up the range of options when hiring employees, as there is no longer a geographical limitation. For the employees, it saves them trips and meals away from home, and the increase in daily comfort results in greater motivation and productivity. There has to be, of course, a relationship based on trust and communication between the worker and the company, which can be maintained by the numerous technological tools available today.
This flexibility of the workplace and working hours has been a growing trend for several years, but now it was accelerated by the current situation of the pandemic. Since many of us were forced to take the leap knowing that the next few months will be a return to a new "normal", what can we learn from the current experience? Everything indicates that many companies have embraced remote working and intend to expand more towards this option, either for hygiene and safety reasons of those involved, or as a way to stimulate the autonomy of their workers and project success. For some it means working permanently in this condition, while others may choose the option to rotate the work days between office days and teleworking.
For the success of teleworking, the most important check points are:
For those who are experiencing some resistance to teleworking, remember: This is not a normal situation. We are working in our homes in the middle of a pandemic, anxious for our own and for the future, with children having classes at the same time, partners in the same on the same boat, lack of adequate equipment... that is, numerous factors that can easily have a negative impact on our assessment. Once this phase is over, who knows? Remote working can become your preferred (and your boss’s) work method.
With the uncertainty of what will happen in the coming months, teleworking will continue to increasing as it is essential for the maintenance of jobs and the survival of many companies. It may even become the new norm.
Text: Inês Bergmann