The Mix of Face-To-Face and Remote Work : The Duo to Choose For More Agility
Due to this heat crisis organizations are hesitating between two work modes: remote working or face-to-face work. What if the solution came from both options at the same time, with digital as a catalyst and more agility as a benefit? Here are a few answers.
This year, companies had no choice: remote working was introduced as the one and only way to to keep the link between themselves and the organization and thus continue their activity. Therefore, it’s estimated that the number of people working from home in France has risen from 7% before March to more than 25% just a few weeks after the crisis began. Today, the lockdown is over, summer too, and the proposition of people working from home has dropped considerably: from 27% to 15% according to a recent survey conducted by the company Yougov. This is despite the persistent risk of infection.
As a result, companies are faced with a very unique dilemma: encourage the continuation of remote working to minimize the danger. But the risk is that the links between employees may become fragile. Or make the return to the office a priority at a time when the risk of a pandemic remains. At Jamespot, we believe that the solution doesn’t come from one or the other, but to both. The goal that organizations should set for themselves? To get the best of bolt worlds, in order to be able to adapt and above all, be agile in the troubled time.
Teleworking: a way of working for agility
It’s a fact: the end of the lockdown and the return from vacation have brought many employees back to the office. However, the pandemic remains, more than ever, a treat. But then, does this mean that remote working was only a situational measure? And that it is not intended to last? Let’s break the suspense right now: it does not.
This last twelve months have been proof of two things: firstly, remote working is a way of working that is not yet fully established in professional habits (according to the survey carried out by Res Public, entitled "Remote Working, talk to me!", 42% of those interviewed had never worked remotely before the crisis). Second: However, remote working has proven to be a backup solution in very complex situations. For many people, working from home has allowed them to continue their business at times when travel to the workplace was almost no longer an option.
To this must be added the feeling of the workers themselves to this practice, which is for the most part unprecedented. Several studies have been carried out, including one by Malakoff Humanis last May, some of whose figures are illuminating: 73% of the workers interviewed said they were satisfied with remote working during the heat crisis and they identified several benefits to it: 80% of collaborators feel they have more flexibility and agility to mange work, 44% more autonomy ans more responsibility. Benefits such as work commitment, work efficiency and work-life balance were also cited.
Without a doubt, the heart crisis has brought remote work to spotlight and highlighted its benefits like never before. Nethertheless, while the benefits of remote working are very real and now better understood by employees, two points should be underlined. Firstly, remote working has its benefits but also disadvantages, also identified during the health crisis: negative impact on physical health, psychological health, deterioration of the link with colleagues... Secondly, the health crisis has also provided a better understanding of the benefits that employees have in carrying out their activity from their workplace. And there is no doubt about it: some of these benefits cannot be met by a remote relationship and digital tools.
Face-to-face: irreplaceable advantages
By working exclusively from home for several months due to the lockdown, many collaborators have certainly become aware of the advantages of working in a fixed space, shared with other collaborators (I can assure: the humble person who wrote these lines is totally included in this group). And it is this observation that undoubtedly explains the return of a large number of employees to their workplaces: some things cannot be replaced or filled by remote working. The first element, no doubt experienced by many of you: isolation and the deterioration of work relationships, the two being obviously linked. Working at home means working alone, inevitably. Of course, there are many ways to fight isolation, even when you're remote, but not all the interactions you had at the office can be replicated: calling in a colleague to ask their opinion, having a quick chat with a colleague over coffee, setting up an emergency meeting to talk about a hot topic... These are all perfectly natural things at work that make sense when you're alone behind your desk.
The second element is concentration, and by this I mean both the ability to be productive and the difficulty in finding the right balance between private and professional life. Let's start with the first. While some people perceive home working as an opportunity due to the lack of distraction, others find it difficult to find the necessary motivation. And this is understandable because, as we have seen, you are alone and the feeling of working in a well-established collective tends to crumble when you work from home, making it important to multiply exchanges with your peers. By working from home, the boundary between the private and the professional is broken. Where it used to be easy for you to leave your professional worries behind when you left the office, things are more complex at home since you no longer really leave your work space. The transition from your work to your family can therefore be seamless, which can be difficult to manage and live with.
The best of both worlds thanks to digital
The observation is made: teleworking offers multiple advantages but is not perfect and cannot be enough on its own. Working at the office? Essential for several reasons but rather delicate in these times. The question then arises: which mode of work should be privileged? The answer is simple: you have to get the best out of both. An example is always better than a long explanation, which is why we are going to show you how we organize ourselves at Jamespot with the help of our solution and its various applications.
The goal is not to set us as an example, far from it, the goal is not to set us up as an example, far from it, but on the contrary to share our experience with you in order to give you some ideas. Let's start with a practice that has existed since the beginnings of lockdown at Jamespot: the Hello and Goodbye of the organization. The principle couldn't be simpler: you create a videoconferencing room where all your employees can join you. At the beginning and end of the day at fixed times, invite your employees to gather in the morning to greet each other, in order to start the day on a good footing, and in the evening to look back over the past day and raise collective points if necessary. Thanks to this ritual, you offer your employees a daily point of contact, whether they are at home or not, and consolidate your organization's overall communication.
Second element: divide your week into face-to-face days and remote working days with the help of your team. At Jamespot, we do this by videoconferencing over the weekend to determine the best days to be on site (e.g. priority topics). Once all employees agree, we inform the rest of the organization that we will be there on Tuesdays and Thursdays (for example) through the Attendance Management application. This application allows everyone to see who will be present on the office in half-day periods. In case a dozen of our employees would have planned to go to the office on Thursday, we know that it is preferable to avoid being present at the office on that day to avoid any health risk. This is not a serious matter: it is perfectly possible to set up a rotation system to allow everyone to go on site at least once a week according to the desires and needs of each organization.
Another practice: on days when we work from the Jamespot office, we take care to share all the important documents we have treated during the day in the group's document bank dedicated to our team. This allows all employees to have quick access to them, no matter where they work, and avoids long and boring exchanges during remote working days.
Teleworking offers multiple advantages but is not perfect and cannot be enough on its own.
In order to pursue their activity in the best possible conditions, companies must set themselves the goal of agility! We can only recommend that you divide your week between face-to-face days and remote working days: going to your offices with your employees will allow you to discuss important issues and keep the link between you and your employees.
The number of home working days is thus reduced, so you will enjoy its advantages without suffering its disadvantages: the feeling of distance and isolation will not have time to settle down as you will already be back at the office (meet halfway and try to achieve at least 2 days of face-to-face work if you can afford it). Centralize documents as much as possible to avoid long exchanges and don't hesitate to make regular updates with your collaborators by videoconference: more exchanges means more collaboration and less isolation, don't forget it!