Coronavirus crisis: an opportunity for companies to test home office practices

Home Office due to coronavirus

Written by Laura Vaillard, director and founder of Medialo Consulting

For the past seven years, I have been working in companies in which remote work is commonplace. That is why I am surprised every time I talk to colleagues who tell me that in their companies, they are not allowed to do home-office. However, the numbers support their comments.

In Spain, for example, a study by Randstad indicates that “69% of Spanish employees would prefer to telework from their home, but they cannot because their company does not allow it.” The same study estimates that, on average, only 7.4% of workers in Spain work from home one day a week.

In Argentina, according to the international association 5G Americas, the number is a little higher, reaching 10% of workers. This puts it ahead of other countries: Mexico (4%), Chile and Colombia (2%).

After enjoying the benefits of teleworking for several years, I want to demystify some beliefs and motivate companies to try this methodology. I believe that the coronavirus health crisis offers an opportunity to apply it, especially in technology companies.

Myths of companies against teleworking:

Myth 1: workers are less productive in their homes.

False: as long as the company has clear tasks and objectives for its employees, people tend to be more effective in their homes since they tend to have less distractions. At the same time, they have no need to travel to the workplace, thereby having more time to devote to assigned tasks.

Myth 2: there are meetings that must be done in person.

It depends: while it is true that there are decisions that must be made in person, in many cases more meetings are held than necessary, or more people participate than they should. Having a staff that works remotely helps to better determine which meetings should be held in person and call only those people who have a central role on the topic to be addressed. This helps optimize everyone’s time and resources.

Myth 3: it is more difficult to track people remotely

False: this belief simply translates into a lack of trust towards employees. Today, most of the work is done through e-mails, telephone and online tracking platforms. As I mentioned earlier, if the objectives and tasks to be performed, and deadlines to be met are clear, it is easy to determine whether an employee works or not.


What characteristics must an employee have to perform teleworking?

While I consider home office to be a great benefit, I also recognize that it is not for everyone. In my experience, professionals must meet the following conditions can work remotely successfully:

  • Ability to self-manage
  • Prior demonstration of compliance with objectives
  • Punctuality in teleconferencing assistance
  • Access to technological tools that enable you to perform work remotely

Benefits of remote work:

  • Cost savings: by having a variable workforce in the office, workspaces are rotated and thus the office space and rental costs are reduced.
  • Balance of work-personal life: today, a good salary is not enough for workers. They also want to choose where, when and how to work. Remote work gives them more flexibility and greater job satisfaction.

Why test home office practices during the coronavirus crisis?

At this time, people are on alert for possible infections. In many cases, where employees have traveled to risk areas, companies have taken sanitary measures and put their employees in quarantine. As they cannot interrupt work since it would have a high impact on the business, offering the opportunity to do home office seems the most appropriate option; an opportunity for companies to implement this methodology and start enjoying the benefits.