Telecommuting has revolutionized the world of work
A survey conducted by the Business Development Bank of Canada, published in June 2021, reveals that SMEs and employees are overwhelmingly in favour of teleworking. Three quarters of business leaders indicate that they will continue to telework after the pandemic.
This paradigm shift, as Pierre Cléroux, the institution’s vice-president of research and chief economist, calls it, is accompanied by the realization that a large proportion of tasks are teleworkable. In the same way, the positive aspects, such as the flexibility of schedules for 54% or the reduction of operating costs for 34% of the SMEs questioned appear largely superior to the negative effects, such as the communication or the interactions at work quoted by 13% of them.
On the business side, these results are all the more significant as only 9% of business leaders have noted a drop in productivity. On the employee side, the enthusiasm is the same as 55% say they still want to telework and 54% would consider this possibility in a new job.
Telework has an impact on recruitment because it allows companies to recruit people who are geographically distant from the company’s location and employees to live where they want without being dependent on the location of their activity. For example, nearly half of those surveyed said that telecommuting played a role in their decision to relocate since the pandemic arrived.
SMEs have understood that teleworking has become a trend and since the pandemic, the rate of companies offering teleworking for half their employees has doubled. However, the need to implement telework in a relatively short period of time, when it would have taken several years to achieve the same result without the pandemic, requires the adaptation of the organization mode in the company.
One of the main challenges concerns internal communication or communication with suppliers and customers, which has developed around interactive platforms such as Zoom, Google Meets or Microsoft Teams for example. However, e-mails and video conferences can never replace spontaneous communication.
Another challenge is that of coaching and supervision, which must be done remotely by using and adapting tools such as electronic agendas or specialized applications, such as Asana, for example. The challenge of these tools is to be able to supervise while leaving the necessary autonomy so that employees do not feel constantly monitored.
The third important challenge is that of motivation and mobilization so that teams do not feel abandoned and that they continue to feel part of a group. It is essential that group discussion, formerly at the coffee machine for example, and individual discussion is maintained and that teams know that they can continue to seek support as needed.
The success of teleworking depends above all on the provision of suitable equipment and a predefined schedule of meetings, daily or weekly for example, to enable everyone to plan a relatively stable schedule. These innovations must be accompanied by proposals that need to be tested, even if it means going back if practice shows that the solution suggested is not the right one for the situation at hand.