Flexible working post lockdown

19 Jun

"Society has had to adjust its cognitive schemes about how the world works, it has had to adjust its justice terms to continue, and it is doing so in the minimum time possible to respond to a new and completely different reality”

Elena Sánchez (Co.founder of Yees!

Readjusting our cognitive schemes and being able to adopt new skills with which to face the new reality become priority ways to survive the crisis with guarantees.  

The effects of the global pandemic are being felt in many of the areas that condition our daily lives. It is clear that, although our way of thinking and facing reality does not necessarily have to change (each one can remain anchored in structures and ways of the past), the truth is that our context has done so without asking us for any kind of permission to do so. This is the first time that the boundaries between the individuals and society have been broken, which of course affects the world of work and the market as the basis and driving force of our communities.

Will hot desking go cold? Changes in flexible working models

Frontline workers (those who don’t have the chance to work remotely) are experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic. Stress disorder: re-experiences, nightmares, anxiety… The virus has severely emotionally and mentally hit workers, and more so in the weeks and months to come. 

Taking into account this situation in which we find ourselves, new skills are needed, framed within new parameters that society has had to develop in order to adapt to the new reality. 

Shared spaces, coworkings, flexible spaces, four-day work days, etc. The last few years have seen the birth of a new configuration of  office concepts  as a fundamental working space. Organizations began to say goodbye to the idea of the traditional office where everyone had their own desk and a landline phone, and traded them in for more flexible and collaborative workspaces as the demand for remote and flexible work grew. What do we do now with all those concepts that began to populate the old traditional offices? Perhaps this will be the question that many human resource managers, CEOs and middle managers ask when employees return to the office. 

“By definition a hot desk environment provides less space than [the total number of] employees, which offers saving in costs. Yet there will always be days when there are peaks and more people come in than there is space. Before Covid-19, people shared desks, sat in unusual or shared spaces and managed as best they could”. 

Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management

The question brings to the table a debate on maintaining flexible work as a model on which to base new forms of work. How can we continue to maintain flexible forms of remuneration, compensation and organisation if the health and safety of employees is exposed? Perhaps, the solution to the problem is not so much to be found in detaching ourselves from all achieved benefits  in the employee's  experience, and modulating towards other solutions that do not move away from the background on which those models were based, and from the human characters of which they were formed (emotional intelligence, empathy, communication, collaboration, etc)

David Storey, EMEIA workforce advisory leader at consultancy EY, suggests taking a “plan, profile and protect” approach to assessing employees’ need to be in the office. 

This is just one example of what could be a way of dealing with the situation without abandoning the flexibility plans that many companies were already putting in place before the health crisis. 

It is clear that the working environment will change from now on, and certain ways of working may have to be changed temporarily or permanently. However, efforts to enhance certain soft skills, some of which are mentioned above, cannot be forgotten if a business is already trying to survive after the crisis. To do this, technologies must become the perfect ally for a business that wants to embark on a real digital transformation. Technologies that are capable of providing value to our organization and deepen the processes of internal communication, responsibility, collaboration and mutual aid. 

A few notes about the role of technology in this new employment situation

Technologies have played a key role during the crisis to ensure that the effects of the crisis were not even harder than they actually were.

At the corporate level, thanks to the technologies available to almost everyone, it has been possible for businesses to continue to survive and endure, as far as possible, the consequences of the crisis. 

Now that countries are beginning to draw up specific de-escalation plans and some businesses are starting to function again with a certain degree of normality, it is essential that the dynamics projected so far be maintained, and that software applications for people management continue to be implemented to consolidate the return to the "new normality". 

But... what can a people management software still offer us? The functionalities can be multiple and  varied (some even unknown). A spectrum that can range from the maintenance of timekeeping, to an internal communication base within the corporation. 

Now that the employees are dispersed (and it looks like it will continue for some time), managing timekeeping  from any location and device is a task that should be marked in red on the agenda of any human resources manager. Companies, Even more so than out of obligation but rather due to a certain imperious need for organisation, are going to have to have a system that helps them now that the employees are going to stay away from the workplaces that OpenHR can provide.

Experts' forecasts precisely to the idea that the employee will remain intermittently isolated from the office. Having a remote Task Control system, will enable the responsible team to continue supervising employees activity. Such a system would be essential for the continuity and regular functioning of any organization.

Communication must remain a fundamental pillar as it is the basis of any social group. Communicating with employees individually, by groups or departments, would allow for quick and organized notification and reporting throughout the organization, communication would continue to flow between everyone in a timely and effective manner.  

Creating a workflow of applications and online documentation segmented by departments, would allow to continue processing, signing and managing all the documentation that the company requires from anywhere, wherever the employee is.