Opinion article by Ângela Santos, Board Member and responsible for talent management at Ábaco Consulting, for PME Magazine: [PT Only] https://pmemagazine.sapo.pt/sabia-que-o-teletrabalho-tambem-tem-mitos/
We have been in teleworking for almost two months (some companies have more than others …), since mid-March, our lives have changed, as have the ways of working.
Not all businesses, organizational cultures or even people’s cultures live well with teleworking. In some cases, despite being a growing trend in recent years, it would still be accompanied by some skepticism or prejudice. When we work remotely, without physical contact and close interaction with colleagues and customers, it is essential that we are aware that there are some simple ways to reduce this distrust that may arise.
In addition to mistrust or skepticism, there is also the idea that working remotely means that a significant part of information (or culture) can be lost, but this only happens if we allow wrong interpretations – through ignorance or ignorance – or because we have processes that fail.
In this sense, it is essential that certain behaviors and policies are adopted, so that we can easily find in remote work a very effective way of providing services to our customers. To this end, it is necessary to identify some myths that can accompany teleworking so that we can more easily understand how to deconstruct them:
Myth #1: “People who work remotely do not work as hard as they should” – For this first myth, it is very important to increase the pace of communications, that is, more status points, more team meetings. And, in the end, documenting / accounting our work very accurately. If this is clear and fulfilled, the myth will be deconstructed. Many people understand this situation as if “we don’t see them, so they’re not producing”, but it is essential that within an organization there is freedom, flexibility, responsibility, commitment and trust. But not all companies have this culture, not all people live and work under this motto and many see the world through the prism of what they impose on them, the fears they are victims of, the lack of confidence that exists in their work .
Thus, for this motto to work it is essential to communicate frequently and clearly, expectations about results to be achieved, tasks and deadlines to be met. It is, above all, the responsibility of team leaders, project managers and any of us, if we agree on a work plan with someone else, make this information clear, verbalize it, write it down, check that everyone understood, especially if the Customer.
Myth #2: “It is up to the remote worker to constantly prove that he is working” – Defining rules with customers, and with whom we interact, regarding the way we organize our agenda is very important. Defining in a transparent way “deep work periods” or that we are in “deep work mode” and making this visible, as well as establishing periods in which we are available to our teams, is fundamental. Although this myth derives from the first, it is easier to deconstruct, since people are currently working remotely. However, it still takes time to delve deeper into themes and focus on completing tasks and delivering results (items constantly in Work In Progress are the enemies of productivity and delivering results).
For that, it is necessary to focus and respect each one’s agenda. But, not all companies / people have this mindset and, therefore, it is necessary to explain, communicate and define rules with whom we interact.
Myth #3: “Remote workers are available around the clock” – After all, they are always at home, it’s okay to respond to something quickly, anytime, right? No, totally wrong. Again, it is important what we refer to in Myth # 2, to identify, in a transparent way, periods of concentration, periods when they are available to others, periods for meetings, absences and breaks. And, above all, the hours when the day begins and ends. It is essential to define the Work-Life Separation rules for yourself and others.
Myth #4: “Remote work means that the company’s culture fades away” – Conviviality and camaraderie are important to keep a company’s culture alive. When we are working remotely, it is true that coffee trips no longer exist, nor does chat in the hall. But it is possible to schedule moments of remote dynamics to keep this interaction alive, in fact, it is essential to use online communication tools that allow the use of the camera. In just a minute of face-to-face interaction with another person, you can see about 10,000 clues of non-verbal language. Conferences with the camera on are essential to maintain and develop the relationship with other people (it is a Game Changer in the world of remote work).
In view of the context in which we live, it has become essential to make companies and their people aware of such fundamental issues as reinforcing trust, responsible freedom, flexibility and commitment within an organization. Guiding, defining responsibilities and deliveries and giving employees space to do so shows that there is trust, regardless of whether or not we are “seeing” the other person.
Giving space does not mean “abandoning” the person. It is necessary to communicate, establish routines of situation and orientation points. Fostering this mutual trust will boost the feeling of belonging and commitment towards the organization.