Telework and productivity?

Antoni Garrell teletrabajo y productividad

Unrest, strikes, layoffs. We already mentioned it in another article: the end of teleworking continues to raise blisters. Faced with the decision by the big tech companies to go back to the office, their teams do not seem happy. Of course, the debate is already open: while some speak of a drop in productivity, others consider that it has increased by 47% since they started teleworking.

But this is not new. Since teleworking has increased its presence, controversy and debate have gone hand in hand: convenience and suitability, remuneration, environmental sustainability, family reconciliation and, of course, productivity.

Teleworking has also shown that, by breaking down space-time barriers, teams can access jobs that were previously inaccessible to them, either for reasons of distance or environment. A win-win for companies and professionals, since the former have also been able to extend their offers to people from other regions.

The telework debate

That teleworking brings advantages is a fact. Both for the company and its teams. However, both must assume that, on the one hand, it requires different procedures and methods than face-to-face ones and that, on the other hand, companies must invest in equipment and mobile telecommunications for their employees. Equipment that allows them to increase their productivity.

Working at home is not the same as working in the office. Working remotely does not consist of doing the same things and in the same way as we do on-site. Organizational and managerial adjustments must be made to ensure and guarantee the completion of tasks within the established deadlines and with the established quality.

Teleworking has also posed a challenge for data protection and security. Information, the core value of any company, is scattered across the devices of team members, each located in a different and changing environment. At this point, organizations no longer have control over content and its use.

In view of the possibility of a rupture in the information protection safeguards, companies have been forced to invest in robust systems to protect data security, deal with potential cyber-attacks and, in turn, ensure strict compliance with the confidentiality of company information and the safekeeping of third-party data.

Efficient telework implementation

The implementation of teleworking, in many cases, was due to the confinement and paralyzation of face-to-face activity due to the pandemic of covid-19 and not due to a strategy of organizations to obtain the benefits that it can undoubtedly bring.

The urgency led to the fact that, in a large number of processes, teleworking was the same as face-to-face work. We could say that, saving distances, it is as if we were using the computer as if it were a typewriter.

And it is precisely this lack of adjustment of the processes and investments required in the implementation of teleworking one of the factors that hinder the extraction of the full productive potential of the technology.

Human capital and innovation

Human capital and innovation are undoubtedly key factors in making economic activity more productive, and therefore more competitive. Proof of this is that, although, according to the world ranking of GDP, Spain occupies the 14th position (slightly more than 1.5 trillion $); in the world ranking of competitiveness, Spain occupies the 34th position.

The ability to extract productivity from technology is a chronic malady in Spain that has not improved, and could, with telework. However, improvement is possible and necessary, and to achieve it, action must be taken on 7 points:

  • To fully complete the digital transformation of the organization.
  • Define measurable and quantifiable objectives for teams and individuals.
  • Implement reliable tools and methods for interrelation, communication and information processing using AI systems.
  • Establish team control and management tools that allow systematic monitoring of compliance with established activities, objectives and methods.
  • To have its own infrastructure, or that of third parties, to provide all teleworkers with the required hardware and software equipment.
  • Reduce cyber-attack risks as much as possible.
  • Ensure that workers are trained in the skills, methods and tools they will use when working in a non-face-to-face mode.

Acting on these points could ensure the advancement of teleworking in a symbiotic way with productivity improvements, collaborative and open creation, an indispensable element to innovate and overcome the space and time barrier, making it easier for companies to incorporate professionals in the global market.

The future of telework

As we all know, the covid-19 pandemic forced widespread confinement with the corresponding impact on economic activities, accelerating the implementation of teleworking. However, the transfer from face-to-face to telematic work was done quickly and without adjusting procedures and criteria for decision-making, organization and control.

Telework is here to stay, to a greater or lesser extent. For this reason, its correct implementation is essential for the competitiveness of companies and for the conciliation between the professional and personal environment.

Article by Antoni Garrell i Guiu, President of HM Hospitales in Catalonia.

LinkedIn | Twitter