What would happen in most companies if teleworking was imposed? Would they continue to move forward? Does this way of working have a future?
Entrepreneurs such as Matt Mullenweg (Wordpress) or Richard Branson (Virgin Group) have been practicing teleworking for a long time and have ensured the success of their companies with teleworking thanks to new technologies. For them the important thing is to have the right talent, be happy, motivated, committed people who can find a balance between work, family and leisure.
Similarly, Gallup studies indicate that not only has teleworking been growing in recent years, but it is also showing improved performance. The results of this research also indicate that employees who spend 60% to 80% of their time working remotely 3 or 4 days a week have a higher commitment, a feature that drives performance. Much of Gallup´s research shows that companies with committed employees have 41% less absenteeism, 40% fewer quality defects and 21% higher profitability.
I now work increasingly with managers who choose to send their employees home to work, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. How can this impact on the company?
According to Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, they studied the profitability of working at home or in the office and found that those who worked at home were 13% more productive than those who worked in the office. The study was done at a Chinese multinational "Ctrip Call Center". The data showed that these employees had 50% less job burnout and increased job satisfaction.
All the data shown so far seems very optimistic. Could it mean an advance in this direction for telework in companies and society forced by the Coronavirus? Obviously, the situation we are currently facing is different. The Coronavirus is forcing companies, schools and public entities to carry out telework without having previously organized it, and this may lead to some disappointments.
Some difficulties in the current situation will be:
1. Companies do not have a previously designed plan and organization for teleworking.
2. They do not have the right technology.
3. They lack a culture of trust.
4. Almost all family members will live and work in the same space without leaving home for some time.
These variables can make productivity not so good. There are other external variables that can also affect the company such as cyber security.
But once the system and technology are developed, will we continue to see more and more teleworking?
Certainly for many companies it will depend on how successful they are in this period of time, their belief in teleworking and the degree of acceptance by employees.
Matt Mullenweg gives us 5 important keys to making it work so we can continue in the future:
Use the right tools and technology.
Keep as much communication as possible. For example: Share your work publicly, so they can know what you are doing and how it can help them in their work and coordination.
Meet face-to-face at least every year. To keep the feeling, commitment, positive relationships and show that we are all moving in the same direction.
Allow your employees to create their own working environment.
Daniel Bilbao, CEO of Truora, gives advice:
1. Be responsible with our use of time
2. Separate work from personal lives
3. Be aware of communication channels
4. Use the camera on all calls.
5. Keep the calendar updated.
6. Avoid distractions that may interrupt our work.
7. Respect the schedule of others.
8. Be committed, responsible and disciplined.
9. Be direct in our communications.
10. Use the flexibility of remote working for our well-being.
If you're teleworking, be alert and give solutions. Here are some examples:
1. Problem: You spend all day working and don't know when it's time to stop working.
Solution: Plan your tasks with your team in the late afternoon and set a work schedule.
2. Problem: I can't disconnect from work. It keeps me busy all the time and exhausts me. Solution: Organize time for work and other activities at home with the family (painting, board games, dancing or singing)
3. Problem: Distraction from children and housework.
Solution: It will be difficult especially if they are small. Prepare activities for them such as painting, or free play. Take out toys that have been put away for a long time, they will like to be entertained again. Organize with your partner the time of attention to the children.
4. Problem: Loneliness syndrome. Feeling lonely without your partners.
Solution: Use your phone or video conference.
5. Problem: Stress. The International Labour Organisation in collaboration with the European Union says that 41% of employees who telework have a higher level of stress, compared to 25% of those who work in the office full time.
Solution: yoga, meditation at home.
Teleworking imposed by the coronavirus is an opportunity we can take advantage of to learn how to coordinate and organize our work in a different way, check our productivity in spite of the circumstances, see how we can feel and develop at work.
Companies can take it as an experiment for the future. Let's not forget that this way of working has an impact on the environment due to less travel and less need for office space.
"Managers have this fear of losing control over employees, and I don't know if it's justified," says Kurt Reymers, a sociologist at Morrisville State College, SUNY. He cites a variety of studies, including one published in the Journal of Applied Psychology showing that telecommuters are more productive and less stressed.