Home Working Requires Autonomy And Trust

<p style="text-align: justify;">In the post-pandemic future, countless companies will adapt to a hybrid work model by combining remote and on-site working.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">This new way of organizing work has many advantages:</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>More freedom</li><li>Flexibility</li><li>Better balance of professional and personal life</li><li>Lower costs in terms of transport, food, and so on</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">But teleworking also represents a challenge.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Hybrid working, which has been or will be adopted by many companies, presents risks that must be managed jointly by everyone involved &ndash; employees, managers, and the organization. These risks are, for example, linked to the following:</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Environment</strong></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Risk of distraction</li><li>Risk of workstation unsuitability, which may expose workers to auditory, visual, or physical ailments</li><li>Risk of social and professional isolation</li><li>By nature, teleworkers no longer share their workplace with colleagues and so risk losing their sense of belonging to a team</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;"><br />&nbsp;<strong>Working Hours</strong></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Risk of burnout resulting from a blurred work/life boundary</li><li>Risk of too much freedom leads to potential difficulties in managing time and priorities, and so on</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Information Technology Risk </strong>&nbsp;</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>By working remotely, the exposure and vulnerability to cyberattacks or data leaks are greater</li><li>Moreover, the dependence on technology is total, so learning how to make the most of it becomes necessary. This work mode can be either counterproductive or very efficient and must be adapted according to the organization</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">As with any system, its implementation is only one step. The most difficult and important thing is to monitor and adapt it. So, it is important to define the operating rules in advance, to ensure that everyone has access to the necessary information and a clear idea of the work to be done and each person's roles and responsibilities.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Communication is also vital. So, it is important for the manager to maintain regular individual and collective dialogue, with a five- to 10-minute video meeting with the team every day. These exchanges should make keeping social links possible, but they should also encourage, maintain or correct certain elements through monitoring based on objectives and indicator-based results.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In addition, at times of teleworking, it is imperative to delegate and give autonomy to employees by setting up a working system based on a clear and common objective and trust, allowing them to make decisions without fear of error. This will empower everyone and encourage cohesion, transparency, and commitment.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The employee is also the key player in their safety and has a role in that of others through shared vigilance. So, they must ensure that their working environment is well organized, with a clear delineation of work and free time, and isolation from noise and distractions in a room with a view of the outside where possible.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">It is also important to pay attention to workstation tidiness and ergonomics, with the chair, screen, and keyboard at the optimum heights. And establishing a routine for the start of the day helps people to be more awake and focused when they start work. Feedback to the manager and the human resources (HR) department and regular dialogue should make it possible to find an appropriate balance that satisfies everyone.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Some research shows that organizations with the biggest productivity increases during the pandemic have supported and encouraged "small moments of engagement" among employees.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">During the pandemic, within our business division but more generally across ArcelorMittal, various groups have set up remote social events, such as virtual coffee corners, sports, and 30-day dietary challenges. In this way, people got to know others outside the strictly professional environment and thus created bonds of cooperation and trust. Indeed, these moments of conviviality, even at a distance, are particularly important during periods of crisis to maintain social links and strengthen the team spirit.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In general, I encourage these social events, even outside of crisis periods, to limit the growing individualism of our world and to reinforce the moments of sharing and exchange that allow for a better understanding of the expectations and constraints of each person. This encourages people to speak freely and to develop a form of leadership in addition to the feeling of a common global goal.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">At the same time addressing team members' mental health issues and the anxiety their colleagues and team members feel is equally important. As with all management-related problems, the most important thing is to devote time to this and the team. Good communication will result in better consideration of each person's problems, enabling positive actions to be taken for all.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Furthermore, each manager needs to adapt their management and respond to each person's and situation's needs. It must be formulated with the health and safety department and the employee, as the latter remains the main actor and the key to the solution.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">HR staff's role in this subject remains vast, as they are the guarantors of a good social climate and therefore of the company's good performance and efficiency. So, they must ensure that everyone's expectations are met and that the hybrid model is implemented correctly, both from a legal and a practical point of view while respecting the group's values, particularly equity.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The role of HR is, therefore major, essential, transverse, and varied. On the other hand, it is important to emphasize that HR cannot act alone on this issue, as everyone has an important role in its proper implementation.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Geoffrey Noug&eacute;</a></em></span><br />&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Geoffrey Noug&eacute;</span></h3><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What are the cyber risks of remote working?</span></h2><p>Remote work presents many computer risks because of the potential fragility of the personal computer system or the co-working space. Computer vigilance is also intended to decrease in a non-professional space.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What is the future of hybrid working?</span></h2><p>Hybrid work will probably be the norm and better structured and supervised.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. How do remote teams build engagement?</span></h2><p>Hybrid work allows greater employee autonomy, a point that remains a recent request from employees. This also allows a better balance between personal and professional life and high expectations of employees.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Geoffrey Nougé

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