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What does remote work involve?

During the COVID 19 crisis , many companies adopted remote work in order to continue with their productive and strategic activities. They were chaotic weeks because there were no protocols and people worked as best they could from home.

In many companies they were reluctant to implement remote work because they distrusted that people would perform their jobs well. They thought that in the offices they produce and achieve better results. But spending more hours physically in your job does not necessarily lead to better results. At the beginning of the pandemic, virtual work kept us connected all day, not knowing very well how to set limits.
After the confinement many companies began to implement hybrid systems to carry out the work. Others, on the contrary, forced the return to the office of all their staff, seeing virtual work as something very residual.

In this postI would like to share with you some of the ideas that emerged from the debate we held at Café con Talentoabout remote work. In that debate We have the participation of three professionals with extensive knowledge about teleworking: Amalia López Acera, (Head of Communication at the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency, author of the “Guide to develop a communication plan in a public administration”), Jose Angel Esteban Lopez, (International Key Account Manager at Zalux) and Virginia Cabrera Nocito, (Specialist in digital transformation at Telefónica empresas, author of the book “Enjoy Tele working”).

Some reflections that emerged in the debate:

What is remote work?

Virginia comments that ” telecommuting” means “remotely”, therefore, not necessarily “at home”.

Teleworking is done through digital media, without being “face to face”, and this idea is here to stay.

Also to say that remote work implies maturity in the production model, (since it should imply a review of the work model and objectives), also implies impact, (how many tasks we do that do not make sense, we must question whether we have to review processes and change) and also implies an opportunity to internalize new values more in line with the digital age.

José Angel adds that remote work implies working “displaced”, but it does not imply doing it from home.

And it is important to organize ourselves and work by objectives, it implies flexibility. Amalia adds that remote work implies the ability to adapt my work to my way of life at the moment in which I am, (being able to work from different places, with different people, etc.).

What are the difficulties of remote work?

Amalia says that one of the barriers is rigidity. It does not have to be a few days, with a pre-established idea. You have to learn to remote work, that is, to work in any environment, and learn digital and communication skills. Now in this situation many shortcomings that we had been dragging from the previous stage have come to light.

Virginia comments that the main difficulty is the resistance of people, who out of fear, laziness, customs cling to the routine way of doing things.

Jose Angel adds that the lack of preparation for remote work has caught us off guard and perhaps that has made it more complicated, not having foreseen the situation.

It can also be a barrier the culture of the company in which we are not connected with other colleagues, not to foster personal relationships beyond work. This has been accentuated more in this stage of the pandemic, causing a greater disconnection that in many cases has not been managed properly.

How to stay connected with your team in the online world with remote work?

Amalia comments that specific actions can be organized to foster relationships between people. For example, stay one day a week to talk about topics that are not work, but only to foster relationships between people and make a team. It has become evident during the pandemic that there were many communication gaps between people, which must be detected and corrected.

José Angel adds that it is important to find the balance between online communications and also to continue conducting face-to-face meetings, especially to be able to keep in touch with people with whom you interact less at a professional level, face-to-face is also important.

Virginia says that working remotely is a good way to see people who manage well, good leaders. We all appreciate personal contact, but how necessary is it to really do our job well and have good results?

When leaders are good, remote work has no negative impact because teams remain motivated and produce good results and remain motivated. It is important to learn to adapt to the new online medium.

Virginia says that to work remotely effectively it is important to know yourself, strengthen your shortcomings to put them at the service of your team and learn digital skills.

What is the future of remote work?

In public administrations, remote workhas come to stay, especially in the face of the new generations, it is important for work to be attractive for them. We must seek the objective of public service and on the other hand the emotional well-being of people.

It is important to trust employees, and not so much the hours worked or face-to-face, but focus on achieving the objectives, giving flexibility to people about the time / place to achieve them.

Companies must rethink their value proposition and start thinking in terms of impact, not do what “has always been done”, you have to think about what is needed now.

And you, what do you think about remote work? What would you like to contribute to the debate on remote work?

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