According to a report by Eurofound which was an electronic survey entitled “Living, working and COVID-19” to capture the far-reaching implications of the pandemic for the way people lived and worked across Europe during the pandemic,
The survey was conducted online, among respondents reached through Eurofound stakeholders and social media advertising. Two rounds of the electronic survey have been carried out to date: one in April, when most member states were in lockdown, and another in July, when society and economies were slowly reopening.
Findings from the first round electronic survey reflected widespread emotional distress, financial concern, and low levels of trust in institutions. Concern levels decreased somewhat in the second round, particularly among groups of respondents who were benefiting from support measures put in place during the pandemic. At the same time, the results highlight marked differences between countries and between socioeconomic groups that point to growing inequalities.
The rise of teleworking
The results confirm the rise in telecommuting across countries during the COVID-19 pandemic that has been documented elsewhere, and the report explores what this means for work-life balance and elements of job quality. But what did happen is that despite measures to support those who lost their jobs were quickly introduced in many countries, more than half of unemployed respondents did not receive any official financial support since the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced many to rely heavily on informal support. The number of those reporting difficulties making ends meet was highest among unemployed respondents. Great inequalities were produced, very marked especially in those families in which one or more members had lost their job because the company had closed, or even if it had not reached this extreme, severe cost adjustments were produced, of course and as always happens, template.
Young people are emerging as some of the biggest losers from the lockdown who, along with those out of work, report the lowest levels of well-being, despite some improvements since the start of the pandemic. While life satisfaction and optimism slowly increased as the worst of the pandemic shock was overcome, young people continue to feel excluded from society and remain at higher risk of depression, showing how restrictions during the confinement affected them even more.
Women also continue to face a disproportionate impact and remain less optimistic about their future than men; this gap widened further between April and July 2020, during the worst stretch of the pandemic’s impact in two years.
Pandemic and gender at work
The pandemic also hit women’s work-life balance head-on more than men’s, as women were more affected in terms of reduced working hours and younger women were more likely to lose their jobs. That men. In particular, the burden of caregiving responsibilities increased during the pandemic for women.
Work shift management: Teleworking vs. face-to-face
The state of alarm due to COVID-19 began with a confinement and closure of the offices, for which teleworking was imposed. Now, although the worst of the waves that have done so much damage to societies have passed, the current variants, although more contagious, are less serious, which is why companies have already spent months starting to return workers to offices, and Human Resources departments have to carry out a good management of work shifts. Since the return to common daily work spaces is becoming more difficult, since there are many factors that must be taken into account:
– All workers cannot return to the office at the same time: who will return to the office and who will continue to work at home?
– Companies will have workers doing telecommuting and in turn working in the offices. How will shift management be carried out?
It is evident that those responsible for the human resources departments of the organizations have to carry out a calm analysis of these issues, so they will have to go into detail in the following aspects to consider:
– How to manage shifts having some employees in the offices and others teleworking
- Video calls and physical meetings
- Use of communication channels
The benefits of shift management software
Companies can rely on specially designed software with shift management functionality. A shift management program is essential to manage employees who work from different locations
What makes it easy?
- Accessibility from anywhere with an Internet connection.
- Greater perception of transparency.
- Anomaly detection.
- Time saving and elimination of manual errors.
It is clear that there will be few companies that will reincorporate all their workers at the same time to the offices. In general, the reincorporation plan for companies after the coronavirus crisis will consist of the following:
– Incorporation by stages, where the first to return will be those who most need to be in the offices and have fewer health risks.
– Rotation schemes to alternate small groups of workers on specific days in order to avoid crowds.
– Respect for the preferences of each employee in terms of being able to return to the office or continue teleworking at home.
– Greater flexibility for employees who work from home in terms of the time slots in which they carry out their work and guarantee digital disconnection.
In addition to all these initiatives regarding the reincorporation of workers, strict health control protocols are being implemented to access the buildings, social distance between workstations and in common areas.
How to manage the situation of having some employees in the offices and others teleworking
When some of the workers are already in the office and others are still working at home, it seems that everything gets very complicated, but you have to have a method so that this does not happen and communication problems between bosses and employees or between members of the team are avoided. the same department and/or team, which are having similar functions, but one from home and the other in the office.
For this you have to consider:
– Video calls and physical meetings
Workers who have not returned to the office can become distant and lose a little sense of belonging to the company.
For this not to happen, it is necessary to find both virtual and physical meeting times to share points of view, news, concerns, etc.
– Use of communication channels
It is essential that there is an internal communication channel for the entire company and that it is used by the people who are in the office and those who are at home. A channel in which individual communications for an employee, communications for the department, and communications for the entire company are sent.
The new reality that companies are facing requires digitization, as we have just seen, and therefore requires shift management software, or in its case, a very strict order established by the human resources department in coordination with each department, depending on its needs, especially those that have to be in direct contact with clients.
“Home office” or teleworking vs face-to-face: pros and cons
The “home office” or working from home has been around for a long time, but during this time of confinement, it has been used by many companies or private workers.
Some people, through social networks or through opinion articles, have stated that they prefer the home office or that little by little they have already been adapting and prefer it more than going to the office in person as they used to. Others, on the contrary, consider that they would like to return to face-to-face work, but with a few days of working from home.
The truth is that both modalities have their positive and negative aspects psychologically for the person.
Let’s see some of them:
– Social relations: being in physical contact or in the company of people in our work environment can bring very good benefits for our mood, teamwork, reduction of anxiety when talking at the moment, for example using quick group meetings, lunch times in groups, among many others. While being home office can feel a bit more lonely, there can be task overload by doing everything yourself and not managing responsibilities correctly. Although if you need to do something faster you can have fewer distractions, unlike face-to-face social contact in the office.
– Communication: The tool of communication at work is essential whatever the methodology of employment. Being a face-to-face job, expressing ideas, projects, problems or conflict resolution can be more assertive or carried out in a better way, while being home office often through digital platforms, a message can be perceived with other intentions or expressions. mistaken by incorrectly receiving the emotions conveyed in the message. This is why, during the home office, correct communication with co-workers, supervisors or bosses is required.
– Satisfaction and productivity: For job satisfaction and productivity to occur, there must be aspects that truly motivate the employee to carry out the work and in turn make him feel good about it. A person will be more satisfied with his job if he has the necessary conditions to do the job, the types of relationships he has, the remuneration, among other factors.
The quality of labor relations
This is why when you are in the home office, you must be careful that labor relations and the place where you work are adequate so that there is a greater increase in satisfaction. In turn, if a person has these aspects satisfied, they are more likely to be productive. By working from home and having fewer physical social interruptions, there is a greater guarantee of productivity and concentration in the execution of tasks.
Regardless of the option you are currently applying, you must be aware of achieving the balance in the appropriate necessary conditions and ensuring your own mental well-being at work, either for yourself or your employees if you are a boss or supervisor.
Home office, guide for implementation in companies
In the field of technological organizations or those that have already undergone a profound digital transformation, it is not an unknown element. Although for many years it was the great ghost of companies with traditional and conservative cultures, resistant to digital transformation.
But with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it became an invaluable tool to protect the well-being of workers, the community and keep companies open (pun intended) to be able to resist and achieve a minimum income that would allow them, at Despite the seriousness of the economic crisis generated by Covid, glimpse a future. Therefore, the home office is without a doubt the protagonist of the last two years. It is obvious that the exponential growth as a consequence of the pandemic took a large part of the population by surprise. So much so that almost six months after the start of the health crisis there are still companies in which the implementation of home office is carried out with difficulty or they have not managed to make a reasonable transition to this methodology.
What is home office, definition
Broadly speaking, and taking into account the concepts defined by the World Labor Organization, if we speak strictly of home office or teleworking, we could say that it is a modality that is carried out outside the central office of a company.
Historically, what was understood by home office was closely related and almost exclusively relegated to the labor sectors dedicated to the use of ICTs (information and communication technologies.
However, and as we have already established, this has of course expanded and branched out not only thanks to the greater possibilities of access and connectivity but also to the coronavirus pandemic.
Five benefits of the Home office
There are other issues to consider when it comes to opting for one form or another (either for health reasons or for the mere preference of the human resources department). These are mainly referred to the broad advantages that the home office can bring both for companies and to improve the employee experience of workers.
– Helps streamline tasks
Without unnecessary distractions or the need to travel, the processes in charge of the human resources area are significantly streamlined. From onboarding to payroll controls, the use of digital talent management tools makes it easy to automate these tasks.
– It is useful for cost control
By dispensing with an office, the investment in both furniture and rentals is reduced to the maximum, as well as in other associated issues such as snacks, office supplies and cleaning, safety and hygiene products.
– Facilitates time control
Either due to the ease of administration and use of clocking systems through HR software or the simple fact that absenteeism (especially for unjustified causes) is reduced to the maximum.
– Loyalty to employees
The comfort of home, flexible hours and work dynamics are key to contributing to the feeling of belonging that makes workers commit to the company’s objectives.
– Recruit the best talent
Just as leading organizations can be demanding with their expectations of their employees, the same is true of workers. Highly qualified professionals usually not only give importance to the monetary remuneration of their jobs, but also to ancillary benefits. One of them, the possibility of working from home.
Home office and productivity
Without a doubt, this is by far one of the most remarkable and strong points of the home office: the notable, sustained and significant increase in the productivity and efficiency of workers.
Subjectively speaking, it is possible to carry out a series of extensive enumerations, where aspects such as the reduction of work stress, the increase in time that employees spend with their families and even how this modality contributes to improving the balance in their diets will be highlighted.
But the most concrete way to have a complete vision about the benefits of the home office and its impact on productivity, are fortunately quantifiable.
A company dedicated to the application of big data for HR performance monitoring published a report in which they analyzed up to 100 million data points collected from approximately 30,000 companies based in the United States.
The results of the measurement initially made in 2019 were contrasted with those collected during 2020. Despite the Covid crisis, general uncertainty and selective confinements, the figures for work in home office mode are truly surprising.
The increase in productivity reaches 47% compared to the performance in offices.
The volume of phone calls skyrocketed by 230%.
Activity on CRM (customer relationship management) platforms climbed up to 176%.
The use of communication via e-mail grew by 56%.
Interaction on chat platforms shows an increase of 9.
Interestingly, a fact that emerges from the analysis is that the use of calendar applications was reduced by 22%. This is in line with the notable reduction in access to documentation, which is around 26%.
All this would suggest that digital tools replace the need for meetings (even if they are virtual) and that this has a direct and positive impact on the performance of workers.
Regarding the optimization of time and use of the working day, the study reveals that, despite the fact that employment hours range between 08:30 and 17:30, the highest productivity occurs between 10 and 15 hours.
The days of greatest productivity are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. While on Fridays and Mondays, there is a significant slowdown in performance.
Four keys to implement the home office
Whether for health reasons caused by the health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic or simply to update processes, the truth is that the home office has ceased to be an upcoming trend to become a reality.
So much so, that due to the urgency with which millions of people had to turn to teleworking to safeguard their work continuity, a radical paradigm shift is currently being discussed at the social level. This is known as the fourth industrial revolution that brings with it radical proposals such as the 4-day workday.
Although these drastic changes were expected within the next five years, the exponential acceleration of the development and application of technologies related to robotics, artificial intelligence and big data mean a revolution. In order not to be left out of this phenomenon and stay afloat, it is vital to develop an approach plan that includes four fundamental axes.