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Extended remote working: a new challenge for companies and their employees

At a time when the current health context imposes almost systematic remote working and sometimes outside the established regulatory framework, how will companies and their employees manage to anticipate and manage the impacts? Our recommendations to support your managers and employees.

Extended remote working

The benefits of regular remote working in terms of quality of working life and performance have already convinced HR and managers of several companies, who already offer this flexibility to their employees: 29% of employees worked remotely at least once in 2019 and on average 7 days a month (source IFOP 2019). However, prolonged remote working is accompanied by increased risks that need to be prevented.

Towards a profound transformation of working methods

Multi-hatted managers

Our managers have a key position in this crisis: they will strengthen their position as coaches, conductors, relays and leadersand put their role as expert to the side a bit. They need to rely on their employees to free up time to manage the business, share information and, above all, provide personal and close monitoring of employees. It is therefore important not to neglect the learning curve of all at this early stage of social distancing.

The stakes need to be well understood and shared by all: managers must ensure that the activity continues properly while preserving their teams. Over-control is not a solution.

Working collaboratively... remotely!

To prevent the risk of loss of team cohesion, managers must move towards a collective management, less "task" oriented.To do this, the team can set up a digital visual management, accessible to all, thanks to tools such as Trello, Planner and iObeya. To anchor the collective, a morning videoconference meeting with a coffee in hand will be beneficial on all levels: we see each other, we follow the activity, we agree on the actions of the day and we share good practices of working remotely. Digital meetings can also be animated thanks to solutions such as Klaxoon, Wisembly and Beekast: interactive, visual and collaborative, you will be able to brainstorm and stay creative!

Communication tools and channels must be accessible to everyone, and there are many free solutions for this. Don't leave anyone out, not everyone is comfortable with digital tools. Take the time to produce simple and accurate user guides, available for everyone. But keep in mind that security and network risks should not be neglected. 

As far as accessibility to communication tools is concerned, we recommend using video and file transfers when necessary and encourage using the phone for conference calls (Android tutorial, iPhone) to avoid cluttering up your VPN!

More than a colleague, a sensitive human being

In addition to the collective efforts and the continuity of the business, we will all personally be overwhelmed by our new working environment. Every manager must give his or her employees the necessary time, individually or in small groups, to put in place certain best practices:

  • Reserve a quiet and comfortable space dedicated to work;
  • Keep in mind that children might disrupt the work of your employees. How do they live this new experience? Don't hesitate to remind them of your expectations of the activity during this period while mentioning that you understand the difficulty (which you may also be experiencing!);
  • The more time goes by, the more isolation will be felt: be an active listener and give your employees collective, non-professional moments such as a coffee break with a video camera!

What about after the crisis?

While 60% of employees declare that their tasks do not lend themselves to remote working, we can anticipate a profound transformation of our working methods in the coming months and an increased use of remote working (nomadism and home office) but also a change in skill searches, for example, for experienced candidates but at a distance! 

Remote working will thus certainly become a major social and economic policy tool, facilitating access to work. 

Article written by the People & Culture team of Talan Consulting

Would you like to learn more? Click here to discover our infographics on the implementation of extended remote working in the event of a crisis.