Telework: Is it here to stay?
The term telework was coined in 1973 by physicist Jack Nilles, and the pandemic has made it fashionable again, being one of the most searched words on Google during the lockdown months.
If you think that teleworking is a concept produced by the pandemic, you are wrong: the concept was first christened by the American physicist Jack Nilles in 1973, in the midst of the oil crisis of the 1970s. Nilles’ purpose was to find a reduction of fuel consumption caused by commuting from home to work.
He managed to improve the life quality of workers and the job quality of companies. Since then, various plans have been made to reconcile work and personal life. From 2006 to 2015, telework fairs have been held where this issue has been addressed as the main objective. The use of the internet has reopened this possibility to be able to have more flexibility and freedom.
More efficient, but not for everyone
If we talk about numbers, there are probably companies that, relying on telework, can save real-estate costs, among others, as long as their sector is that of services. However, if the company sells products, this will be more complicated as it will need a physical space and people to handle these products.
Let’s take the example of a company that offers services and therefore could consider not having a physical space and having all its employees work from home, with meetings once a week or even twice a week. Costs could decrease favourably even if there is a premium for the worker, such as subsidizing the costs of internet, electricity, and even providing a share for the purchase of office furniture.
Workspaces are reinvented
If this happens, there may be an excess of disabled offices and, at the same time, a growing demand for coworking space. This concept, which has been around for years, means sharing the workspace with other people or even companies to reduce costs. Demand has risen significantly in recent months, and may become much more affordable both for the short term and for long seasons.
What do workers choose?
As for the workers, we can distinguish those who prefer teleworking, those who prefer working in-person, and those who prefer hybrid work. Let’s look at the differences:
Telework: during the pandemic months, they have learned to be at home, deal with family, work, concentrate, and have virtual meetings.
The advantages: it takes 2 minutes to sit and turn on the computer, you can do household chores during breaks, you can eat at home, and share more time with family.
But there are also disadvantages: loss of contact with colleagues, difficulty concentrating in the case of not living alone, and getting out of the routine.
In-person: probably, if we do a survey, people with children will be in this group, because they are the ones who have suffered the most during the pandemic. Teleworking has its advantages, as we have seen above, but on the contrary, you end up working harder than if you go to the office. For this reason, there are people who prefer to go to work outside the home. That way, they know that, from the time they leave until they return, they are 100% focused on work.
Hybrid: for many this is the perfect formula, with two or three days in the office and the rest teleworking; the benefits are multiplied. Today, this is the format chosen by many companies, and it looks like it will stay for a long time.
Let’s take advantage of all we have learned from these months of uncertainty, so each company can assess which format is most efficient for their business and for each person. Flexibility and using the latest digital tools available in the market are key to improving productivity.
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