The Total Redefinition of the Workplace

The Total Redefinition of the Workplace

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The Workplace has changed dramatically in the last months due to COVID-19

 

In this future full of questions that the coronavirus crisis is leaving, there is something that is increasingly clear: Remote Working works and it came to stay. And the pandemic could be a catalyst for this work model to stop being the exception and become the new norm.

The emergence of the coronavirus in our lives has changed everything, including the workplace landscape. From one day to another, many large, medium and small companies have been forced to close their doors and implement remote working practices, when this has been possible, in a hurry. In addition, the “New Normal” that is being talked about so much these days is also affecting other aspects of the labor market, especially in an increase in precariousness that some experts already confirm. Many workers and employers have been affected by temporary redundancy (ERTE), redundancy (ERE), layoffs or paralyzed businesses

Before this situation, according to data from the Randstad study ‘Flexibility@Work’, 58% of Spanish workers considered before the start of the crisis that their job had everything they needed to work from home.

And it that the approach and implementation to remote working has not been easy for anyone. The contingency plans managed by our companies were, at least, very limited in most cases. Many of them were even at the starting point. That initial step consisted of drawing up a list with all the employees on the staff and establishing their functions to determine who had the possibility of working from home and who did not. But this scenario, today, falls short.

Now, more than ever, it’s key to offer the necessary tools to workers so that they can perform their tasks digitally and prepare the organization to take advantage of the most innovative technologies in data analytics, process automation or artificial intelligence and ultimately improve the experience of its partners, customers or employees.

Our offices will have to re-adapt to the ‘New Normal’

The future of business offices
The economic crisis that will unleash the coronavirus will affect each and every one of the companies on the planet. For example, in the brick sector, buying and selling operations have already been paralyzed and it is difficult to imagine that the whole scenario we are experiencing does not seriously affect prices. And of course there are no previous references, so the behavior of the market in 2020 and 2021 is absolutely unpredictable.

But, on the other hand, it is essential to understand the experiences of people working from home in these challenging times, it uncovers unique global data that will help us provide advice based on in facts about short-term improvements and long-term impact. It is clear that many people are adapting to work from home, and that they will probably want to continue with a certain level of teleworking for part of the week, even when they can return to their offices.

What will happen when this exceptional measures are over? When the alarm state is lifted, when the de-escalation begins and, little by little, it returns to normality, or what has now been called a ‘New Normality‘. Many issues will have to be raised and among them is the role of remote work in the ordinary operation of companies.

We can lead to the mistake of believing that teleworking is only an option in extraordinary situations, such as this pandemic. It should not be so, teleworking is here to stay. The exceptional situation generated by the health alert has simply been the Trojan horse that has introduced it in a general way. Now it is time to turn the exceptional into ordinary.

“Remote Working is not an alternative, it is now more than ever, a reality and necessity and must become an standard model for companies

Benefit from available technologies
Thanks to the technological tools currently available, working from home is not an obstacle to perform the functions in an operational and effective way. There are a large number of tasks that can be organized remotely: meetings can take place through video-conferences, and the status of each team’s projects can be viewed, shared and checked through shared calendars, timings, murals, shared sheets, online docs and task listings.

But, why we should consider remote working as a real option and a central model for the companies in a post-pandemic era? Here are only some reasons but implications for a post-pandemic economy are diverse: a better work-life balance, safeguarding the health of the worker, allow companies to maintain lighter cost structures, quality of work, productivity, increase the employee loyalty, etc.

In short, companies should support remote working after Covid-19 when possible. It is important to note that in some positions, organizations or industries it is not feasible for all company employees to telework all or certain days of the week.

The benefits for companies are numerous; flexibility, efficiency, employee satisfaction, productivity, better corporate image, etc. And also the advantages for employees are enormous: less stress, less “burn out”, reconciliation with personal agenda, higher job retention and performance.

This has only just begun but it is evident that companies will have to adapt many of their work processes to the new normal: redefinition of employee KPIs, adapt to each specific case, use of available tools and technologies … to make remote working be an absolute reality at all levels and not just a beautiful and attractive marketing slogan of companies.

Ernesto Rincon

Ernesto Rincon

I am leading the Innovation Business Development Team for South Europe region at SAP. I am advising C-level management at strategic customers on the impact of Digital Transformation and Innovation on their business models. I am also leading the Digital Finance practice at University Carlos III of Madrid and I am Co-director of the Master of Tech Processes Sales at Sales Innovation School.

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