Work from home – from benefit to need
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I remember 2009, in a course of Compensation and Benefits were proudly listed the “unique” benefits with which some organizations pampered their employees. Among the most fanciful, especially for certain fields of activity, was “work from home”. At the same time, in the world, many companies had already made a practice out of it, but in Romania, in order to be able to implement such a facility you needed some imagination to be able to accommodate first of all the legislative and then cultural aspect of working from home.
Time passed, the legislative solutions allowed it, but something was missing. I would dare to say that for some organizations the lacking element was, and still is, trust. Trust that employees can work at home, that they will pay attention to responsibilities, that they will be fair and will not ‘steal’ from the employer’s time to take care of other household activities. The lack of trust generates enough dysfunctions at the organizations’ level, putting pressure on the relations of subordination, interdepartmental, between headquarters and other company locations.
We are living in difficult times, an unprecedented situation, which no one has encountered before and with many unknown variables. The coronavirus pandemic fundamentally changed the way many organizations operate. Many companies from different industries have taken safety measures to protect their employees from the spread of this virus, while continuing their daily operations. There were no easy decisions, lacking both equipment and systems supporting the implementation of work from home almost overnight, but also the trust capital. Some employers preferred to terminate employment contracts, others to use the same equipment for several employees, some are still looking for solutions. Other employers faced more easily the change, especially if they already had work from home as a limited possibility before the pandemic.
A change at the organizational level may seem easier to adopt in case of need – the lack of equipment is solved by acquisitions, the lack of systems by experiments, trials and errors, but what about the change of behaviors and attitudes? After numerous courses in Change Management, I saw people who tried, succeeded, or postponed their efforts, finding various excuses. But this time something is different. There is something else at stake. Nowadays, other way does not exist. Each of us finds his / her own motivation, but this process of awareness can sometimes be difficult. The participants to PEP programs implemented during this period are confirming the difficulty to adapt to the new context. The ones I noticed succeeding were the ones who took the element of change and translated it into personal practices and methods, each at his own speed and not as a result of a 1-2-days training. “If you do what you have done before, you will get what you have got before”, said Abraham Maslow. In our context, it would translate like this: if you try to work from home as you worked when you were in the office, you will get the same outcome, but at home: the job is not always completed, overtime, stress, and in addition , altered relationships, because, this time, around you are your loved ones for whom you are not available even though you are present. They will know you in a different way, sometimes not the most flattering. The child will be surprised that you are not available when he wants, the spouse introduces you to the professional who fights for project resources or who grits his teeth and takes it out at home after the teleconference with the boss, the life partner will meet the budget manager delegating tasks seriously or that slams things down because frustration reaches high levels, with the request for a report that is of no use to anyone … and we can continue with many examples.
And, as in recent years it had become a frequently titled subject – harmony between private life – professional life, here that reality proves to us that it is only one life, ours. At the same time, I would venture to assume that many of us have not completed any course on how to work efficiently. Everyone learned on the go, observed their colleagues, bosses, and applied as they thought.
To be a pleasant presence, first and foremost for ourselves, we must re-learn how to work, how to be more effective in order to avoid negative emotions and save time. Pendl & Piswanger Romania is able to provide companies the perfect tool, the online program PEPⓇPersonal Efficiency Program that offers practical solutions for improving office work processes, helping employees to increase their efficiency, get more time with less effort from anywhere they work and create improved work – life harmony. Following the PEPⓇ steps and principles, each participant gains more than 1 hour per day through efficiency optimization, which generates an investment return of 52% over 3 months for the company, already proven by the companies that have adopted this style of work and have integrated it into their organizational climate. For example, in one organization that we have worked with recently, just by optimizing the structure and time allocated for recurring meetings, we have noticed a reduction in working time. Organizing efficiently the common folders with an internally agreed folder tree and standardized names of the documents inside them saved more than 1.5 hours per day per employee.
History has always shown us that crisis only makes us stronger and more prepared for what comes next. Now is the time, encouraged by the given situation, by the personal stake of each and every one of us, to use online training and development tools, to pay attention to the small details that generate big differences in the way we work. For many of us, working from home is and, most likely will remain after the dilution of the pandemic, the new reality. Organizations can invest in something they have never done before on an individual level – to guide employees to work more efficiently.