Remote work: how, when and why?

13, July

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina The world of work is experiencing the most disruptive time in the last ...

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina

The world of work is experiencing the most disruptive time in the last 50 years.

This unprecedented social phenomenon shows us that everything was quite simple when it seemed complex to us. A pandemic allows us to value many things that seemed given and unmovable. Today we know that to the current complexity we have to add high doses of uncertainty.

However, there are some certainties. One of them is that COVID 19 has been an exponential accelerator of trends that had been observed in some innovative organizations.

This state of affairs has spread at an unprecedented speed, with a low level of preparation and has had a significant impact on the entire production system. I include the education system in this.

Organizations have developed survival strategies very quickly. However, the forms, scope, resources and fundamentally the results have been very diverse in our region. We were much more analog than digital and in general terms the organizations that have reacted quickly are far from the digital transformation.

The common denominator in all strategies for adapting to periods of social isolation has been telework, home office or remote work. Is it the same? What is behind these concepts? Is it possible to manage remote work without changing management models?

A global survey developed by The Adecco Group shows that 74% of workers say that a mix of face-to-face and remote work is the best way to work in the “new normal”. Almost 70% say they favor results-based work over hour-based work.

Companies and workers found that in many cases it is not necessary to be in a certain place to perform the tasks that make sense of a role within an organization.

There are multiple benefits in big cities when it is understood that work is not a place to go but a set of tasks to perform. These benefits impact on individual, family, social, environmental, transportation, and leisure aspects, among others.

However, teleworking is much more than just doing work at a distance. Implementing a remote work strategy can be a huge opportunity for the development of organizations and individuals. And also the possibility of benefiting at the country level from the growing knowledge economy.

For organizations, it means the possibility of accessing the global talent supply, to gain in diversity and with it in possibilities of building more creative and innovative teams. It also means gaining efficiency through cost reduction. Leading remote teams requires to manage through metrics, to focus on the performance of those who develop in the organization, to be flexible with a strong orientation towards results.

For individuals it also implies the possibility of connecting with the world, integrating work to life and achieving more balance. The opportunities are multiplied, those who live in small cities benefit from the exponential increase of alternatives. The possibility of bringing foreign currency into countries should be accompanied by concrete incentives to do so.

Obviously there are negative aspects. The main one for Latin American idiosyncrasy is the lack of social interaction in person, which is why Latin American workers will most probably opt in the future for the concept of pixelated work, with a diversity of parallel work formats that will shape working careers very different from those of the past

As Alex Torrenegra and Andres Cajiao state in the recently released book Remoter – The why and how guide to building successful remote teams, “remote work is actually far more than business opportunity. It is a necessity for humanity to move forward.

And for the companies that make up the Worforce Solutions ecosystem? An unprecedented challenge. The possibility of becoming the experts who guide the pixelated careers of citizens through various work formats with strong interference of remote work or the possibility of closing in on a work concept that will only be a small part of a diverse and expansive universe.

We are facing the most profound cultural change we have ever experienced. The how of countries, cities, organizations and citizens will define our development. How do we form ourselves? How do we work? How do we produce? How do we serve? How do we prioritize? How do we unlearn? How do we relearn? How do we remain flexible and resilient? How do we start over?

Urgent questions of the present that will shape our future.