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Topics: Ethics, Organizational Culture, Resource Management
Will remote working stick?
Once the pandemic is over and many of us return back to the office, will we then make the case to managers that we should be working from home 1 or 2 days per week? It worked during the pandemic right? We were more productive, happier, less stressed, achieved a better work-life balance. Why not continue it?
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The current situation is forcing many companies to shift to work from home. The classic approach will be to learn from the experience, do lessons learned and modify policies accordingly. I think the key is trust and results, however we might all be too distracted.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 26, 2020 6:47 PM
Sante Vergini
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Thanks Charles. A few organizations ago, trust was a big issue with middle managers during our work-from-home migration.
Dear Sante
Interesting your question
Thanks for sharing

I believe that we are facing a paradigm shift

Companies will need to invest less in facilities and equipment, a lot of work can be done remotely
Will people be hired for the project and, who knows, they will receive a lifetime grant to stay at home?

The development of skills will be supported by each one of us

Instead of asking to stay at home, companies and organizations will send us home :-)
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 26, 2020 6:48 PM
Sante Vergini
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Hi Luis. Many companies might use it to get rid of"difficult" employees.
Sante -

While we can be very productive with remote working, I will still go back to the sixth principle of the Agile Manifesto: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Until we have holographic presence technology a la Avengers, we are losing some percentage of the overall richness of messages when we work remotely.

Kiron
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5 replies by Eduard Hernandez, Kristen Oom, Michael Delaney, Sante Vergini, and Telegam Narayanan
Mar 25, 2020 9:29 PM
Telegam Narayanan
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I agree with your view. F2F connection within team members is important and it helps a great deal in issue resolutions quicke, as well understanding people and problems.

Thanks
Mar 26, 2020 6:50 PM
Sante Vergini
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Hi Kiorn, true we are losing some of the richness of being in person, but virtual face-to-face also has other benefits that in person live does not.
Mar 31, 2020 5:26 AM
Eduard Hernandez
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Agree with Kiron. Just make the maths: PMI suggests a project manager should spend 90%of their time communicating.

Then, about 70% of the we give credence to after a conversation or a meeting comes from non-verbal messages, such as eye movements, smiles, postures... Tone of voice accounts for 10%. The remaining 20% are the actual words.

Recongizing the dramatic continuous improvement in new technologies and platforms that allow virtual meetings, nothing like a nice f2f meeting over a cup of coffee.
Apr 02, 2020 8:22 AM
Kristen Oom
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My entire team works remotely, even before this pandemic. We have weekly meetings with the entire team. Touchbase for the ones that do production/billable work is done 2-3 times a week.
If our team were to do this in person it would cost the company more in transportation costs since we are scattered throughout the US.
Apr 02, 2020 8:21 PM
Michael Delaney
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I agree while a significant part of many projects and business process can be done remotely it only works with at least some F2F activities which are required to establish the relationships among the different roles. Also some activities such as scope definition and problem solving are usually more effective when all are in the room,
I will go along with Kiron - although maybe not the holographic thing. We went through this some years back with the "paperless" prediction, remember. Computers, electronic correspondence and filing was all the rage. Yet we generate more paperwork now than ever.
Working from home is a necessity now but will become a fad then draw back to where it was. We are a social animal. We work (and play) better as a team - the total is more than the sum of its parts.
In my opinion, we will settle back to the pre-pandemic levels within a month or two, at most a year.
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2 replies by Rob Hassen and Sante Vergini
Mar 26, 2020 6:51 PM
Sante Vergini
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Hi peter, we will settle back, but it will never be at the same level. Many people will ask their employers to work from home at least 1 day or so per week, because it "worked" during COVID19, so why not after.
Mar 31, 2020 9:21 PM
Rob Hassen
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Personally I can crank out a lot of work and do some deep thinking at home in my den that I have a hard time with in the 'open office' concept. Our organization is somewhat new to the open-office, and the constant discussions and phone calls make it almost impossible to concentrate. I agree that face to face is the best communication, but I am going to lobby hard to work from home one or two days/week, and am thinking that is probably the optimum scenario.
Hello Sante: We are learning as we go on this. It has always been acceptable to work from home for my current role as a remote project manager, but many businesses have not had all their workers remote before. Some were afraid to try, some did not trust their workers would be as efficient and some were opposed for other reasons. My daughter is a physician, and now she is doing many telehealth patient visits. This was an option many clinics had not invested in previously. My daughter was shocked at how well it worked and how efficient it was. I believe many industries will change practices based off this "required experiment" for social distancing. It will be fun to see if my assumption is true or not.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 26, 2020 6:52 PM
Sante Vergini
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Hi Lori. I think telehealth has massive potential. I'm glad to see a remote project manager too; this is also on the increase.
Sante

We are inspecting and adapting accordingly. For the most part, we can work 1 or 2 days from home but as Kiron said, face to face communication is essential in our line of business.

RK
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 26, 2020 6:53 PM
Sante Vergini
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Hey Rami, sounds like you have a good mix going there.
Mar 25, 2020 5:27 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Sante -

While we can be very productive with remote working, I will still go back to the sixth principle of the Agile Manifesto: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Until we have holographic presence technology a la Avengers, we are losing some percentage of the overall richness of messages when we work remotely.

Kiron
I agree with your view. F2F connection within team members is important and it helps a great deal in issue resolutions quicke, as well understanding people and problems.

Thanks
I think it's an interesting question. First of all, at present, many enterprises are unable to perform telecommuting; telecommuting does not solve the problem very well. F2F can solve the problem quickly and understand the members.Many small enterprises don't want to work remotely, they don't have the ability.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 26, 2020 6:54 PM
Sante Vergini
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Thanks Lui, that's true. Hopefully it will be cost effective and available to all in time.
My personal opinion is no, it won't stick. Why? Because we do not seem to understand the concept of remote work. Firstly I have seen lots of solcial media post where companies are using 'spyware' to track employees by doing things like taking pics every so often to see if you are behind your keyboard. Really? It's about adding value, output and not about the hours in the chair. So clearly a large part of businesses are not ready to let go of micromanaging things.

But then the most important one - Remote working has never dictated that we do not collaborate. NEVER EVER! There is nothing wrong with having a face to face meetings WHEN required but I have no need to have one every morning.

Also, we waste a HUGE amount of resources heating and cooling buildings just so that we can herd people together. Then we have cleaning, security, admin and a host of other auxiliary functions just so that we can huddle. All of this goes off the company bottom line when it can be spent much better elsewhere.
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2 replies by Liu YuChuan and Sante Vergini
Mar 26, 2020 2:14 AM
Liu YuChuan
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Special enterprises will perform remote work during the virus period, such as government enterprises, which need to collect whether other enterprises in China return to work or not; there are also some enterprises of life support products, which need to face-to-face, in addition to face-to-face phone contact, they do not have mailbox, video conference and other technical software to support them. Telecommuting in mainland China will last until May.
Mar 26, 2020 6:58 PM
Sante Vergini
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Hi Anton, yes I am familiar with that kind of software. In one of my migration projects, the managers wanted to use spyware and in the end we (thankfully) decided not to go down that path. It will only be a matter of time before corporations do the math on some of the things you said. like building rent, bills etc. which is the number one driver for companies to migration workforces to a home solution. That is what I discovered anyway in one of my theses on the topic. As far as employees go, they loved it: happier, less stress, work-life balance, more productive...but...some experience feelings of isolation, and the obvious computer/internet issues that are harder to resolve remotely.
Mar 26, 2020 1:13 AM
Replying to Anton Oosthuizen
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My personal opinion is no, it won't stick. Why? Because we do not seem to understand the concept of remote work. Firstly I have seen lots of solcial media post where companies are using 'spyware' to track employees by doing things like taking pics every so often to see if you are behind your keyboard. Really? It's about adding value, output and not about the hours in the chair. So clearly a large part of businesses are not ready to let go of micromanaging things.

But then the most important one - Remote working has never dictated that we do not collaborate. NEVER EVER! There is nothing wrong with having a face to face meetings WHEN required but I have no need to have one every morning.

Also, we waste a HUGE amount of resources heating and cooling buildings just so that we can herd people together. Then we have cleaning, security, admin and a host of other auxiliary functions just so that we can huddle. All of this goes off the company bottom line when it can be spent much better elsewhere.
Special enterprises will perform remote work during the virus period, such as government enterprises, which need to collect whether other enterprises in China return to work or not; there are also some enterprises of life support products, which need to face-to-face, in addition to face-to-face phone contact, they do not have mailbox, video conference and other technical software to support them. Telecommuting in mainland China will last until May.
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1 reply by Anton Oosthuizen
Mar 26, 2020 5:48 AM
Anton Oosthuizen
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Agree that it is not possible for all positions to function remotely, my point is more that many companies are just not mature enough to adopt it as a general practise where the position allows for it. They would rather micromanage employees and waste vast amount of resources doing so.
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