The idea of teleworking is not recent: this proposal is more than fifty years old. It emerged during the oil crisis as a response to reduce the use of non-renewable resources. As the years went by and with the implementation of ICT, it began to gain more strength in different sectors. It is from 2020, with the health crisis, that telework emerges as a proposal to companies.
As part of the response to the contagion curb, two initiatives were established. One of them was the use of masks, and the other was social distancing. The latter is difficult to achieve in closed spaces such as offices, and that is where the home office was established. This is defined as work that is done from a location outside the company using telecommunication networks. And this has gone much further, through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).
Telework, companies and pandemic
Although it is true that teleworking is not applicable for certain companies, it is applicable for administrative work, for example. Among its benefits is the saving of up to 30% in infrastructure. As for the worker, it confers greater flexibility, autonomy and conciliation between work and personal life.
When there has been greater confinement, teleworking has been the answer for the company to continue with its activity. This does not entail a risk of contagion to its workers or lead to total closure. The use of ICT has been fundamental for the implementation of the home office. Through videoconferencing, video calls or cloud environments, it is possible to take work to any other location.
Modalities of telework
- Mixed work. This is when the worker works some days at home and others at the office.
- Telework in telecenter. The worker works full or part of the working day in work centers equipped with computer equipment. This is done outside the central offices.
- Full-time telecommuting. When the worker does it from a fixed location, such as his home. It is there where he/she performs the entire working day.
- Mobile work. When the worker has to move for work reasons, and does not have a defined work place. They have an itinerant job and performs it outside the office, in different places.
Advantages of teleworking
- For the worker. It allows him to organize his time, especially if the company demands the fulfillment of certain objectives. And by not travelling to the company, he saves time and money. In addition, by managing the work remotely, he can attend to some matter at home immediately, thanks to the flexibility. This makes for a better work-life balance. On the other hand, teleworking is inclusive with respect to people with disabilities or working in remote areas.
- For the company or self-employed. First of all, there is a reduction of costs related to face-to-face work, from heating to computer equipment. Absenteeism is very low, due to the ease of being able to work remotely, which reduces costs. Thanks to this modality, it is possible to hire qualified personnel without being limited to those who are in the vicinity. On the other hand, it allows a better organization and coordination remotely, in addition to a greater fulfillment of objectives. And if required, there are offices that can be rented by the hour for meetings.
What to do to make teleworking go well
Finally, it is important that for all this to work well with teleworking, there is an awareness between company and workers. That is, to avoid the disconnection of family life from work, to be organized and disciplined. In addition, the company must take care to avoid the emotional disconnection of the worker with the company. Isolation should also be avoided and teamwork should be encouraged in the best possible way.
To this end, it is suggested to get dressed, even if you do not go out to the office, and to plan the working day in advance. It is helpful to meet goals, not hours worked, as well as to maintain communication with colleagues. It is important not to work 24/7, but to limit the tasks and the time dedicated to accomplish them.
Even with the vaccines, the pandemic is far from over, so the home office will continue to be present. It is even expected that this way of working will continue, even when “normality” returns. And it should not be seen as something negative, but as a positive option, because of its advantages.
In countries like Ireland, since before the health contingency, they have been successful with teleworking. It is clearly a successful country, with all the startups that are hosted there, why could not the same happen in Spain?