What if we were still working remotely tomorrow?

Even if some companies in Luxembourg already allowed telework before the COVID-19 health crisis, the vast majority had to adapt to remote working in a hurry when the crisis arrived… many[1] found solutions and implemented the necessary processes in a very short time. Gradually they have adapted and successfully completed the transformation, even with respect to tasks, which were previously not “teleworkable”! Thus, it has become possible to carry out the vast majority of activities remotely.

With containment, the proportion of people working remotely tripled to include almost 70% of the Luxembourg population concerned during this period. Even in the fields of education, public administrations and financial services partial telework has reached 96%, 75% and 80% respectively.

In parallel, and in order to adapt to this new reality, the legal framework has also evolved resulting in the new agreement of October 20th 2020, which applies both to regular and occasional teleworkers.

And so, finally, this pandemic will have had a positive impact (apart from the tests, which we prefer to be negative) by “forcibly” shaking up the world of work, even affecting certain companies or sectors that were still very wary of this practice and yet are now integrated worldwide: telework works! It works, and it’s popular!

The impact of remote working

Of course, telework does not only have advantages. It has multiple impacts, whether on internal organisation or communication, on culture, on the customer experience or on the way we collaborate and manage.

Remote working complicates certain phases of professional life, such as recruitment or the integration of new employees. It is much more difficult to adapt to a company when you are not in the office, surrounded by your new colleagues, in an environment where the organisation, equipment and discussions are almost entirely dedicated to work.

Teleworking appeals to some people more than others, much depends on their personal circumstances. But despite this, it has won over companies whose productivity has increased – teleworking employees work an average of 4 hours more per week[2] – as well as employees who:

  • avoid tedious commuting,
  • can work in their own environment,
  • enjoy more flexible working hours to reconcile work and private life.

Towards a hybrid model?

So, now that the world’s population is getting vaccinated – mainly so they can go back to restaurants and go on holiday, let’s be honest – are we also going to have to go back to the office?

Well yes! But probably YES and NO.

Although there is a widespread desire to return to “normal”, new habits have been adopted over the past year and changing our ways of working back to 100% of what it was before the health crisis no longer seems possible. Many companies are therefore looking at the possibility of implementing a hybrid solution, mixing face-to-face and remote working.

So why not take advantage of this year 2021 to take stock of what telework has brought us, both the positive and negative aspects? Why don’t we all draw lessons from these observations, and organise ourselves accordingly to optimise the telework of tomorrow?

In any case, before bringing employees back to the office, it is important to communicate in advance and to listen to their questions and points of view, comments and even wishes.

Take stock and design the future together

We suggest using this method to identify, assess and develop your employees’ relationship to telework. The following suggestions can be used, for example, to organise a working session between managers and employees, thus strengthening team cohesion.

1. Assess the situation with all the teams

… And set objectives for the future organisation of work:

  • What did they like or dislike? What are the best practices to be shared?
  • What are their expectations? Their fears?
  • What do they want to continue doing or stop doing?
  • What would be the ideal frequency of telework (respecting the different national regulations for cross-border workers)?
  • Which activities should be carried out preferably in face-to-face/remote mode?
  • Which telework tools should be used in the future (for communication, data sharing and storage, informal meetings or the integration of new collaborators, etc.)?
  • Is there any current need for training to become more efficient remotely? (e.g. for managers with regard to their team management, for employees regarding time management, disconnection, IT tools, etc.)
Use this assessment to…

2. Define new processes, set new rules and communicate them:

  • which work will be carried out at the office/remotely?
  • What about the different types of meeting: some of the more sensitive ones, such as annual appraisals, are best conducted face-to-face, others concerning day-to-day organisation can easily be organised virtually.

3. Support the HR department in the implementation of sustainable telework:

  • through the review of their processes (recruitment, evaluations);
  • in their support for managers (training in new managerial practices based on trust);
  • in their support for employees (in their new personal organisation, helping them to disconnect and to avoid isolating themselves).

4. Define performance indicators:

for this system and readjust if necessary, based on feedback from the teams.

5. Communicate regularly about best practices

This review not only provides the perfect opportunity to take stock of the past year, but also to align the team around new objectives, which they have co-constructed and which are compatible with the new corporate strategy. In this way, we can all start again by reinventing our ways of working.

Would you like us to support you in this process of reviewing and defining the future of your telework?

Please contact us by sending an email to info@mindforest.com to discuss with our consultants how best to implement this in your organisation.

[1] & [2] Statec, Stanews n°15 du 19 mai 2020
[3] Photo by Dillon Shook on Unsplash