Teleworking has become a reality for many employees during this period of confinement and at the end of this unforeseen period, 40% of them want to continue this new way of working, according to an OpinionWay-Square Management survey for “Les Echos”, carried out on 13 and 14 May 2020 with a sample of 1,015 people using the quota method.
The corollary of the confinement has led to the fact that the teleworking experience has not been carried out on a small sample of people but on millions of workers and managers who represent 2/3 of the active population: communication, human resources, education, finance, media, accounting, … and, moreover, on activities such as telemedicine which, until then, had met with a lot of reluctance from both doctors and patients. The latter was very reluctant to adopt this type of consultation. However, according to the Opinionway survey, 80% of working people who have experienced it would like to continue working remotely, but of course, alternating between the office and home. But what is significant for the future development of teleworking is that management seems to be in favour of it.
The beginnings of large-scale telework strikes
It must be said that teleworking had already started to take hold during strikes in the capital and its suburbs for many companies who had sometimes reluctantly chosen to telework so that their business would not be affected. The difficulties for employees and managers alike in getting to work, for whom getting to work had become a real obstacle course, had convinced some critics. The employees had agreed to adopt it in order to avoid losing their jobs or reducing their salaries, while the managers were afraid of seeing their business with customers harmed.
But not for all activities: real awareness
During this pandemic period, caregivers, employees in food stores, markets, transport (metro, bus…), factories… had to continue to go to work. If teleworking is not possible in all areas, this can raise real questions about how to get to the workplace, about the time frame, which is generally determined by the number of caregivers (for example, who take turns providing non-stop care) or about the working hours of the day (in food stores and transport for example) and the 35-hour week. For all these employees, the difficulty remains that their work is often located far from home. If the job were, as it was a decade or two ago for life or for a long career, employees would consider finding housing close to their work, but with relocations and restructuring, many of them have invested in housing that is ultimately far from their new place of work and is therefore forced to make long and costly journeys.
People who do work that is pegged to the computer
In recent years, teleworking has been the subject of much discussion within companies about its advantages and disadvantages for both the employee and the manager or director. Large groups such as banks, insurances … proposed to spend one, even two or three days at home and to come one day to create a link and meet their manager or head of department or teams. This new way of working was often envied by those who could not, within a company, apply it because of their function or position (e.g. a person at the reception desk or employees working in the company restaurant). More than one person requested it in order to avoid transportation and loss of time and to devote more time to their personal life. The discomfort of public transportation with crowded rail cars and the incessant train delays of the past year had become the norm for people wanting to telework, and teleworking was introduced to avoid stress for those who could not arrive on time and for the teams who were forced to substitute for the latecomer, who was stuck on a station platform.
But other reasons?
Families, whether single parents or not, who have children in day-care, nursery school, or elementary school are in great demand because teleworking allows them to pick up their children, not to arrive exhausted by transportation, but also because of strikes, technical problems with trains, the bill to pay nannies has put a serious strain on their budget and teleworking offers them this opportunity which reflects directly on family relationships and family resources.
Yes, but aren’t all of them in favour of teleworking? An imperative to maintain the social link.
Young people, people with children of self-supporting age or single people may prefer to go to work. The link created in the company allows them to maintain a social life that is essential to human life even if they prefer certain flexibility such as having days at home and others at work. They are 9 % to want to work full-time but they wish to return to work and this more woman. Telework has its drawbacks because the dialogue is dematerialized. Contrary to what one might think, Tech profiles and Millenials, according to a WorkAnyWhere® 2020 survey conducted by ChooseMycompany, are less comfortable with telework, with only 61% supporting it, i.e. -5% vs. the average.
For Tech profiles, the expectation of support and project management by managers is unfulfilled. For Millennials, who are just starting out in their professional life, they miss the social aspect and the support of the manager. Favoured by organizations with a strong culture and identity, the young people are hungry for “after work” and anchoring at the “base camp” office, which is essential to their sense of community.
Leaders: questioning their management
Until now, managers felt the need to have the teams close to them because team leadership was an integral part of their job, but they had to adapt and they certainly had to reinvent themselves?
Managers appreciate teleworking the most: more than 9 out of 10 say they have the resources to manage it positively. Teams, for their part, are looking forward to structured collective leadership and better individual management. But organizational freedom doesn’t mean not being present: teams need their managers to steer operations through clear objectives, availability to guide, feedback, and simple encouragement.
Teleworking and entrepreneurs
From the outset, outside of their appointments with customers, suppliers, bankers … teleworking is a base because it is about saving money and therefore avoid renting a workspace that would strain their budget. Self-entrepreneurs have already gotten into the habit of using Skype or Zoom… to meet their clients for example rather than renting expensive space. The same is true for VSE managers who have naturally used the new technological means with both employees and customers to optimize their time.
Not so simple… given the problem of cybersecurity, it is obvious that we must give them tools to the employees and therefore ensure their maintenance. The work tools offered to employees increasingly represent, as before, the company car, an added value to the company, and a recognition of the company’s trust in its employees. It is still often asked to establish a border between private and professional, notably for reasons of cybersecurity for the company. But the tools are not limited to the computer and they must work such as the mobile laptop, the software that allows connecting with the need to sometimes set up a workspace in the home or even computer assistance.
Some software that has the wind in their sails
Skype – allows you to make phone or video calls over the Internet, as well as screen sharing.
Zoom: remote conferencing service
Face time: video conferencing application by cell phone
WhatsApp: phone calls and video applications.
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