How to work remotely: the balance of the new labor paradigm

Por: Pedro Ferreira - May 5, 2021

How to work remotely: the balance of the new labor paradigm

All over the world, the national barometers that assess the state of the art of human resources leave little room for doubt: we are – and will be – witnessing a change in the work paradigm. Not everything is wonderful or completely new in this reinvented world, however, reality shows that, more and more, it is necessary to know and improve how to work remotely, in the areas of activity that allow it.

The pandemic and the need to ensure the ability to work remotely stimulated the use of digital services exponentially during 2020, to the point that currently there are more than 5.3 billion Internet users and 29.3 billion connected devices worlwide, either to fulfill professional needs or personal goals.

In order to continue working, doing business and generating profit, most of the economic fabric was forced to accelerate their digital transformation (well) sooner than they would have idealized. To the point that several experts consider that the estimated digital transition for two years has been made … in a couple of months! This means that, by the end of 2021, about 20.6 zetabytes of information will be entering and leaving global data centers (there were almost seven million zetabytes in 2016), according to the report by Global Market Insights.

But the technological issues, including the one of sustainable management (and evolution) of data centers, are not what motivates us in this article.

What is certain is that, until 2020, the vast majority of the world’s workers had never even had a remote work experience and there were few companies with models of digital, remote work, properly consolidated…

How to work remotely: involvement, productivity and efficiency…

How to work remotely? The bottom line is, in fact, the same as always, for both employers and workers: how to ensure involvement, productivity and efficiency in the tasks at hand. It is the mix that differs, depending on the degree of telework to be undertaken by each institution and / or company, from now on.

Almost every other day, we read and hear news about another major technological and / or service company with the intention of relocating a good part of its workforce to the “lap” of employees. And since the lap is not a secretary, the reflections revolve around the future of the office and the… office of the future.

The wordplay has a lot to be said about, however it is not at all philosophical. It is purely pragmatic and, again, it only has to do with (remember) engagement, productivity and efficiency.

That is why, in recent times, in surveys and other studies of the specialty, the hybrid model (which mixes face-to-face and remote work) appears – by a large margin – ahead of preferences.

As a matter of fact, in this “championship” it is only necessary to know what is the prevalence between the two (if more teleworking than in person work or vice versa), when (days in question for each modality) and where (home office, coworking spaces, among others)…

Cada caso é um caso, e a decisão basear-se-á seguramente nos dados, nas particularidades e na experiência de cada entidade. Todavia, de acordo com um relatório recente da McKinsey Global Institute – sobre o trabalho remoto, a digitalização e a automatização no futuro do trabalho pós-pandemia -, há um vislumbre estatístico revelador: cerca de um quarto dos profissionais em economias avançadas poderão vir a desenvolver trabalho remoto mais de três dias por semana, a longo prazo.

You may find this interesting: Remote work productivity: the (high) performance wears casual…

Meet the present, foresee the future

And it is for all this, and because there are more and more people wanting to know how to work remotely (to attend to the present and to prevent the future), that, more than ever, we hear about multivalent offices, shared work zones and even, more recently, hotdesking. We’ll be right there…

We have already seen here how coworking spaces can bring together the best of both worlds (halfway between the company office and work at home), and, equally on the Cowork Lab Blog, how there are measurable gains in telework (all with risks and challenges): time savings (less physical travel and videoconferences and better online meetings), efficiency in several processes, greater productivity, greater reconciliation of the personal / family and professional spheres, and even less carbon production for the atmosphere (due to the smallest number of people in transit).

The change is safe, but it is full of uncertainties, because it is still under construction. And while some question how to work remotely, for others, the sacramental issue is more the degree of employee involvement caused by the physical distance from the company’s traditional facilities. In other words, a professional (dis) connection, mixed with an increase in stress and a good pinch of communication difficulties, which the renewed computer tools are not able to dissipate.

(How to work remotely is) the doubt that points to the era of chameleon offices

Because? Because the first evidence points out that the greater the weight of remote work, the greater the negative impact on workers’ involvement with the organization that employs them.

And this is a needle that is making decisions waver: on the configuration and the valences of the offices of the future, which equates adaptability to new work rhythms, their hybrid models and the way professionals prefer to work. Without forgetting, moreover, how these future new spaces of companies intersect and relate to decisions about how to work remotely.

Are we entering the era of chameleon offices? The idea that is gaining preponderance is, in fact, that hybrid business offices are the solution. Basically, a fusion between the physical and the digital, a “home” to recalibrate missions and regain visions and values. To share innovative, creative ideas and re-establish human relationships, in communion.

The current moment is even forcing the real estate sector to redefine strategies, based on detectable trends in “commercial real estate” (CRE) – the corporate real estate offer available or to be made available.

You may also like: What is Coworking?

New trends in the provision of workspaces

One of the trends is precisely the hybrid future. According to JLL’s “Top 10 Global CRE Trends”, a company specializing in real estate investment, the fact that you can work from anywhere is forcing you to transform real estate portfolios, which have to address new issues in the health and well -being of employees and new work models, among others.

The new corporate offices will, therefore, be more digital (firstly) – in favor of a dynamic and interconnected technological ecosystem (with everything accessible, at any time and place) – and, at the same time, more humanized, oriented to facilitate the performance, cooperation, training and periodic monitoring.

One of the most striking trends, emphasizes the aforementioned study, is the Flex Transformation (level) of the workspace. Given that, symptomatically, it seems that 33% of the CRE directors of companies estimate that coworking will grow in the post-pandemic era, alongside innovations in this type of product.

product.One of them has gained a suggestive name and has grown in popularity, especially in recent times, among professionals and all those who question how to work remotely: hot desking.

It is, in essence, a variant of coworking and is an option considered ideal for freelancers who work on various projects and who want to keep the tasks in progress even when moving to other cities.

Hot desking is a more adaptable, casual and itinerant coworking modality, without a fixed work table, where you can rent the work station only for a day, or a part of it, on preferred weekdays. 

A recent article in Forbes magazine even included hot desking as one of the ways (and investments) to follow in the future, to meet the requirements of remote work.

The Japanese Konica Minolta, by the way, has few doubts, and has recently emphasized that there will be a greater demand for coworking, project and collaborative living spaces. Redoubts duly prepared to allow work and phygital communication (between physical and digital).

Will we be prepared for hybrid work and to work remotely better?

Little by little, the curtain of the next major disruption in the labor market is opening, and, additionally, allowing to alleviate doubts about how to work remotely better.

A recent Microsoft study (“The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are you ready?”), Carried out on more than 30 thousand people, in 31 countries, revealed that close to 73% of workers want the continuation of remote work options to remain flexible.

The report listed almost two hands full of hybrid work trends that leaders have to take into account, while we haven’t definitely entered the new labor paradigm.

To know:

– Flexible work is not only here, it is here to stay;

– Leadership team may work far away from their subordinates;

– High productivity is disguising the exhaustion of the workforce;

– Because it is at risk, there is an urgent need to revitalize the so-called Generation Z;

– Networking is increasingly reducing and creating difficulties and compromising innovation;

– Talent can be anywhere in a context of hybrid and flexible work;

– What is authentic will serve to stimulate not only productivity but also well-being.

And that is why, in order to face what is already felt and what is to come, the American technological giant is recommending five tailor-made strategies, in order to continue the context of ongoing change. And they are:

– It is necessary to create a plan to empower people, in order to prepare them for extreme versatility;

– It is urgent to invest in space and technologies, with the aim of connecting the physical and digital worlds;

– It is urgent to create antidotes and fight against digital exhaustion, and the example must come from the organizational top;

– Must be given priority to the reconstruction of social capital and culture;

– We have to rethink the experience of employees, to compete for the best and most diverse talents.

Read as well: What is teleworking? It is no longer a trend…

Shorten the distances, always talk and be effective …

These trends and strategies are important not only for those working with an employment relationship, but also for those who, as an independent worker, seek to know how to work remotely better. Basically, they are guides that enable an alignment of methods and goals between contracting and contracted entities.

But to get there, we must first overcome basic challenges. One of them is technological: according to several studies, almost a third of professionals in teleworking will not have the necessary technology to work remotely and collaborate with colleagues, and many others recognize inefficiencies in effective collaboration with the team, especially due to the lack of support from the team and mostly regarding the components of the company’s information technologies – extremely in demand these days.

And, as a consequence, how many times will the demotivation knock at the door … Hence it is important to create habits and routines that allow the distance work team to row to the same side and in an aligned pace.

One of them is the permanent connection (which shortens distances) with all elements, through the Internet, using platforms such as LinkedIn, Zoom, Twitter, Whatsapp or Facebook, among many other computer tools, including those that allow you to define goals and tasks systematically, following a specific organization and monitoring its implementation (where Trello and Asana are mere examples).

In giving practical implementation to this last suggestion, in addition to giving an effective answer on how to work remotely, you will be and fulfill a second essential routine: collaborate and share in real-time.

The recurring dialogue with colleagues (to answer questions, provide suggestions, resolve concerns and desires …) seems to be la Palisse’s dictum, but many people forget the necessary effectiveness in the act. It is, therefore, essential to know how to screen which virtual conferences to participate in, optimize interventions and understand when they are most appropriate, for example, in individual meetings.

Then, avoid distractions, eliminate dispersion by various subjects, know how to prioritize the most urgent tasks, focus on one goal / job at a time – these are some of the little “secrets” that you should exercise in your day-to-day, for the sake of productivity.

It is, moreover, for these reasons, that many see in coworking spaces ideal places to overcome the challenges of remote work – both in the technological and human dimensions – and, at the same time, promote networking.

Find out what solutions we have for you at Cowork Lab.

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