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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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Mar 25, 2020 3:51 PM
Replying to Charles Turnell
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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.
Thanks Charles. A few organizations ago, trust was a big issue with middle managers during our work-from-home migration.
Mar 25, 2020 3:59 PM
Replying to Luis Branco
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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 :-)
Hi Luis. Many companies might use it to get rid of"difficult" employees.
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
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 25, 2020 5:41 PM
Replying to Peter Rapin
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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.
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 25, 2020 6:22 PM
Replying to LORI WILSON
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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.
Hi Lori. I think telehealth has massive potential. I'm glad to see a remote project manager too; this is also on the increase.
Mar 25, 2020 7:15 PM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
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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
Hey Rami, sounds like you have a good mix going there.
Mar 25, 2020 11:58 PM
Replying to Liu YuChuan
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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.
Thanks Lui, that's true. Hopefully it will be cost effective and available to all in time.
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.
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 9:59 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
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Yes, for the most part.

What held us back before were feelings like the 'not invented here' syndrome, not having a compelling reason to change and maybe the easy way of procrastination in office. From an employers view lack of trust.

Now most people experience that it works, it even has benefits (no commuting time, closer contact to family, etc), so the hurdle will be lower. In Germany even doctors increasingly use tele-medicine, bringing top specialist to cases, not the other way around.

For sure f2f is still needed, but it can be focused on it's purpose of building trust.

Also, now we will develop new ways of remote work, we will observe VR / AR which will give us experiences not possible thru video/audio calls. Bandwidth does not seem to be a problem, Europe reduced Netflix bandwidth to ensure dialogue bandwidth, we already have a padding included (no pun intended, just teasing).

In IBM Germany, 15 years ago, we already had a ratio 1:12 for office space:employees. Saved a hell of office space and infrastructure and also promoted the paperless documentation. All colleagues enjoyed it, like I did. Be agile.
Thanks Thomas, a healthy mix of f2f and remote working is ideal.
Mar 26, 2020 10:59 AM
Replying to Peter Rapin
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Some (many) years ago we had individual offices so that we could concentrate on our assignments, have some privacy, etc. From there we went to open concept to encourage collaboration, integration, synergy, team building, etc. Now people are arguing for the effectiveness not only individual offices but but remote work stations. Technology accounts for some of that but I believe it to be a fad. It suits some jobs, some people some of the time but it will not become the industry standard.
Hi Peter, not for some time no.
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