After 11 months at home, teleworking is turning into a hurdle race where lack of motivation is the main burden for thousands of employees. And while the majority of companies that have opted for remote work have seen productivity increases in the third quarter of 2020, according to the technology consultancy Capgemini, there are obstacles that do not disappear.
The same report, The future of work: from the remote model to a hybrid one, ensures that “employees are affected by a feeling of being always connected.”
Another study by the work platform Fiverr indicates that 40% of workers have problems separating their professional and personal lives. All of this is added to the feeling of isolation that distances the employee from the team, from the leader and from the objectives, which is creating, as experts have already dubbed it, a kind of “bubble workers”.
In fact, human resources specialists are recommending that companies invest in isolation prevention therapies and even design a program of activities that help employees create healthy habits, both in their workday and in their day-to-day life. .
Banco Sabadell made psychologists available to its employees to learn how to face the new scenarios. “At Banco Sabadell, together with the ASPY healthcare team, we have an action protocol to help our employees manage the emotional stress that this situation can cause due to the virus .
The first step to follow is to carry out a questionnaire that will help assess the degree of stress of the worker and, then, based on the results, a phone call or video call will be made to initiate psychological care ”, he explains Joan Lluch , director of Occupational Risk Prevention at Banco Sabadell.
Putting the focus on the management of work teams is the mission that organizations now face and that raises several questions: how to be more effective working remotely? How to get workers to be animated, cohesive and maintain your involvement in the project? And more importantly: what resources should be allocated for all this?
Fede Martrat, partner and director of the team and commercial excellence consultancy ActitudPro suggests that getting a team to be active, efficient and generate profitability in the middle of a pandemic depends on both its components and its leader .
For Martrat, the two key points are: planning individual work and rediscovering new ways of interacting work and emotionally with colleagues at a distance. “We have to look for the friendly face of digitization . Finding the best way to organize ourselves by using technology in a creative way and making people hooked ”, he explains.
Although teleworking can give employees greater flexibility to organize their daily chores (you save the trip to go to the office, you can reconcile better, you are not tied to a rigid schedule, etc.), the truth is that you do not take advantage of well time — well because tasks are done that have nothing to do with work or because objectives are not prioritized — is common.
In fact, the WorkMeter application, which is used to measure productivity, highlights that the lack of clear delimitation of objectives reduces actual working hours by between 50% and 70%. In this sense, the worker must become aware and know how to organize their individual tasks first and then plan with the rest of the group. “This implies creating an agreement with the team: how are we going to work together?
When are we going to hold meetings? Etc.”, informs Ana Fernández, managing partner of Barna Consulting Group and who will participate in the webinar Management of teleworking teams : new ways of managing remotely , organized by HUB Empresa de Banco Sabadell .
It is known as time thieves to actions that make us waste time during the working day and of which, on many occasions, the employee is not aware. These are some examples:
-Interruptions (unanticipated visits to the home, unwanted calls, unimportant emails, requests for help from a colleague, etc.). It is important to know how to say “no” when they take place
-Do multiple tasks at the same time
-Not knowing how to delegate responsibilities
-Putting off important tasks and spending too much time in unnecessary meetings
-Consult social networks
-Not knowing the importance of the objectives set, if they are urgent or if they have a longer term to meet them
The first step that experts point out is to create a list of tasks that set daily goals and create healthy habits (such as sleeping and eating well, as well as practicing exercise) that help counteract stress.
The second, the team must be perfectly communicated, either through periodic video calls or with a shared calendar that helps both the team leader and the teammates know what each person is doing at all times. “The boss experiences a lot of tension and doesn’t know how to solve situations. They tell you, ‘Hey, my subordinate I don’t know what he’s doing. I have a feeling of total lack of control, ”says Martrat.
Trust. This word that refers to the previous point and that is also closely related to the new profile that leaders need in their teams. “Now we are looking for two competencies: personal maturity, that is, a person who does not have emotional ups and downs; and autonomy, employees who are proactive and are not absent. There are people who need to have a boss in front of them to work ”, says the expert.
In addition, Martrat also explains that to manage a team in a more efficient way it is necessary to start measuring work through results and not by the number of hours or tasks performed.
The work environment has always been a basic pillar for teams to function well. Now, in the absence of a common physical place, achieving that positive atmosphere is more complex. And it is a problem, because the difference of having an environment that fosters that emotional intelligence can achieve up to 20% more profit in companies, according to the Capgemini Emotional Intelligence study .
“We no longer look like we used to, nor can we detect the mood our boss has when he walks through the door. Being at home can produce a certain isolation, what we call bubble workers, ”says Fernández. In what way can we enhance the feeling of closeness and motivation through the virtual medium?
Martrat affirms that empathy eliminates “the cold” that employees perceive when they connect to the internet to work. Creatively using chats or video calls between colleagues can be very positive tools. For example, congratulating a member on a good job done or even on their birthday enhances the feeling of closeness. You should also take advantage of video calls . “In meetings you can spend five minutes talking about how everyone is doing. It is important to deal with these issues, because working as robots will end up damaging the team and will end up burning it out ”, says the expert.
As for the interpersonal relationships of workers, there are leisure activities that promote the construction and cohesion of groups ( team building in English). These programs have also been updated due to the coronavirus and adapted to the new reality. Now, they are focused on online meetings that help relieve stress (such as yoga or mindfulness ) and team challenge games (such as escape rooms or gymkhanas).
1st Activate the camera. The leader must ask all the components to turn on his webcam. First, because in this way you can know through body language the mood of your employees. And second, because seeing their faces helps to socialize and not feel alone during the work day.
2º Use the tools. A poorly managed video call can be very counterproductive. If the turn to speak is not respected or the members cannot understand what is being talked about, they can become stressed. Making use of the application tools (such as Teams or Zoom), such as screen sharing or using your hand to ask to speak, can help save time and effectiveness.
3º The emoticons, the great allies. Not all business meetings are formal and serious. Just as in the office there were coffee breaks, you can make video calls to disconnect for a few minutes. Many platforms already have emoticons and fun elements to make conversations more lively.
It is also essential that the leader manage “the emotional organization chart”, according to Martrat. In other words, dedicate more time to the mood of your team. If you notice that someone is unwell, you should call them immediately and offer your support. “You have to know how to modulate. Finding a way to raise your mood ”, adds the expert.
In addition, the use of language also serves to convey the expectations you have about the work of a subordinate. “You have to conjugate the sentences: what I expect from you is …, your goal is …, for this week I need …”, describes Martrat. In this way, the goals are more defined and the team can organize itself better, obtain better results and gain motivation.
Managing problems remotely is another challenge that teams are facing: from personal friction to the inconvenience generated by technology. The best option is to get ahead and invest resources to avoid it. The basic pillar is having a good communication system and equipment for all workers, as well as offering digitization classes for those who are not used to performing tasks virtually.
“One of the most frequent errors that we are seeing is that many teams have started teleworking with a little training on the new tools they were going to use. But we are facing a new way of working that requires a change in habits and beliefs that go beyond a Teams course ”, explains Fernández. The expert emphasizes that the key is to work together on the work model that each team is going to carry out while carrying out tasks from home.
– Take into account the personal environment of each worker and provide them with tools with which they can work remotely. Interactive platforms such as Teams or Zoom make it possible to create these virtual work environments.
– Check that the worker has a good connection at home, a suitable place to work and take into account the different schedules according to the family responsibilities of each one.
– Different communication channels: chat, WhatsApp group, telephone, email, video call, etc.
– Collaborative methodology such as Kanban or Trello, based on teamwork on who does what and who measures the results obtained.