Before the pandemic, working from home was just an option for some companies and workers, but with the increase in Covid-19 cases, it was necessary to increase social distance and telecommuting became the solution for most companies. All of a sudden, the place where we work has changed to the place where we live.
The work, however, must continue to be done, deadlines to be met and customers to be contacted and products to be delivered. Teleworking does not bring more rights or obligations than face-to-face work. That is, despite having completely different working conditions, with regard to location, travel and resources, a worker who works from home has the same rights and duties as a worker who travels daily to the company and the consumer continues to have needs that need to be met.
As the months passed and the pandemic evolved, we realized that this would be after all the “new normal” with all the advantages and disadvantages that it entails.
There are a number of advantages, or characteristics that are understood as such, for both workers and employers. On the workers’ side, they range from logistics, from not wasting time in traffic or spending money on transport, to time profitability, due to flexible schedules, much less pressure from hierarchical superiors, even for their absence and, because we work in a self-controlled environment where we don’t have colleagues around, there is also a reduction in the surrounding noise. On the employer’s side, there is savings on rent, equipment, materials, among others.
In terms of employment, the notion that the worker benefits from such benefits when working from home is somewhat contradicted. The idea that, working alone at home, there is much more freedom and time flexibility to do what you want, how you want, where and when you want, is a bit misleading. In the experiences shared so far by various professionals, there is a suggestion that, on the contrary, more hours are worked, precisely because of the absence of pre-defined hours – with the meal break being constantly interrupted and constant requests, at any time , whether by phone, email or social media – and under more complicated conditions, because, in reality, the new work space is not always the most suitable and is shared with the family that also needs it. The constant presence of children who also take classes from home and end up wanting and needing attention and even the logistical and technical difficulties that have to be resolved, by the worker himself, in a “do-it-all” manner. It turns out, therefore, to be a mistake, to judge that, in this scenario, the worker is freer and left to himself, on the contrary, he is, most of the time, more dependent and imprisoned than in the “old normal” , and what you save in the logistics part, you end up spending more, on energy, internet, etc.
On the socio-professional level, the disappearance of the collective space that is the work environment, be it an office, a newsroom or any other, means the disappearance of teamwork, of the collective product that results from various collaborations, some foreseen others arising from informal contacts resulting from sharing the same workspace. The space for discussion, exchange of ideas and the individual inevitably overwhelms the collective space disappears. The sum of the individual ideas, held by each one, in their home is one thing; a set of ideas resulting from a collective dynamic, which are thought out, discussed and elaborated by a team is something else. And that, ends up getting lost with the “new normal” that is telecommuting.
Now, instead of daily socializing, we may have to focus on regular company events, online, monthly, quarterly or even semi-annually, as a way to ensure that corporate culture continues to be experienced, by all, even remotely. Many business sectors have never returned to what they were and the very nature of their work will be profoundly altered. Let’s look, for example, at the real estate sector, where the impact is already being felt, as many companies are forced to use office space and rethink the dimensions of the spaces they occupy in buildings.
The catering and retail sectors are also feeling the impact. With the circulation of people on the city’s streets reduced to a minimum, there are no physical customers and it is necessary to reinvent the way of doing business to face these new times and new forms of consumption. When establishments close, consumers need contact and service alternatives.
The extreme scenario of having to move the entire team from a common environment to a remote, telecommuting regime overnight, for reasons of public health, was not foreseen and the ability to adapt to a new reality was put in place. At a time when everyone had to interrupt their normal activity and left the consumer with customer service difficulties, it was necessary to provide more than the minimum service. This is where adaptability is put to the test, because it is precisely at these stages when experiences are canceled or postponed and products are not delivered, that the quality of customer service ensures your loyalty or means losing that same customer to forward. That is why it is now essential to ensure the efficiency of customer service areas, which at this time, are the only way to reach people for many companies.
In the post-Covid 19, many businesses will not go back to what they were and the very nature of work will be profoundly transformed and telecommuting seems to be here to stay, so and because we don’t know how long the situation in which we will last. we find, we have to face this way of being, as the new normal.