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The lived experience of remote office may come in the same range as the numbers of people using them. Some find it pleasant to get up five minutes before their first meeting, while others get frustrated by not leaving their “workspace” when the workday is over.
A recent survey by YouGov for TietoEVRY shows that COVID-19 has had a positive impact on how many of us think about remote work: one third of Swedes (33%) and Finns (31%) say that they have a more positive attitude towards remote work. In Norway, one fourth (25%) is more positive now than before the corona outbreak.
“A positive from the remote office experience for me is that productivity levels have remained similar to before COVID19. One of the biggest fears was that productivity would drop, but that has not been the case”, says Kristian Schäfer, Consultant with us at TietoEVRY, working with Design Thinking.
He is one out of close to 24 000 colleagues that have been working remotely for almost three months now due to the outbreak of the Corona virus this spring.
In the YouGov Survey 14 percent of Finns and 15 percent of Norwegians said they work even more efficiently remotely, while 16 and 23 percent felt that their work efficiency was declining. In Sweden 29 percent felt they worked less efficiently from home.
Kristian believes that most people are more than capable of performing more self-leadership and don't necessarily need to have a manager or a leader attached in order for them to perform.
“We have extremely competent employees today and perhaps the leadership theories have not entirely followed the same development trend. I think we could distribute far more of the perceived jobs we think a leader should perform to the employees”, he says.
Managing Partner of TietoEVRY Sweden, Karin Schreil, is aware of the situation many leaders and employees may find themselves in due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
“For a lot of organizations, this meant a sudden change to a digital way of working, something that was totally unexpected from their side. Many did not have the tools nor the knowledge on how to adapt to the situation. We are helping a lot of businesses and organizations reorganize into a form where remote work and digital leadership becomes the new normal”, Karin says.
She also believes that skills such as openness, empathy, creativity and the ability to act as good examples, in addition to dare being innovative may be especially important for leaders now.
“A major challenge that a lot of managers may be facing right now is balancing taking care of the employees’ needs and implementing efficient digital ways of working and collaborating”, Karin emphasizes.
Øystein Sehlmann, Head of Process & Change Advisory at TietoEVRY, leads a team that assists organizations and businesses implementing digital tools for employees and management. According to him, here are three factors that are crucial in order to effectively take advantage of opportunities in this digital era:
“Access to tools and technology that enable you to work from home in a way that is as close to if you were at the office, is crucial. First of all, it’s about having the solutions that make it easy to share documents and files in addition to have efficient online meetings”, says Øystein.
Microsoft 365 will cover the needs of most organizations. Tools like this also enhance effective internal communication.
“Employees need both insights and skills to get the most out of technology. Microsoft Teams provides so much more than online meetings, storage and sharing of documents: there is also a whole range of apps that you can implement into this tool that will help you take the collaboration, projects and workshops to new levels”, Øystein explains.
The last thing Øystein is highlighting is the most important one: clear goals, strategy and guidelines for the different tools.
“Without them, people may start using the tools differently only to experience confusion, frustration and low business outcome as a result”, says Øystein.
Robin Dronsfield, Head of EUS Advisory at TietoEVRY
”Pro’s being that I save a lot of time and can get up later in the morning (I am a late sleeper).
I also appreciate the fact of being home as soon as my workday is over. I work with a greater focus until my tasks are finalized compared to when I am at the office. I also perceive digital meetings as more inclusive, it is easier for everyone to be part of discussions when using video.
On the downside, remote work requires a greater amount of meetings – at least for me who also has a social need to thrive at work. I sit, even more, lacking activity and it is sometimes harder to log off from work when your workspace is also your home.
Kaja Drews, Consultant at TietoEVRY
The greatest part is to be able to wear clothes I normally don’t use! You know, the ones that may not be accurate enough for the office, but that I love wearing outside of work. I do believe that our meetings have become more efficient and it takes less time to attend a meeting: all you have to do is to click the “join meeting” button compared to the office where you may find a spare meeting room and often go to different floors!
I find it challenging not to have an ergonomic office chair or proper workspace at home – and that I am most of the time physically alone.
Niklas Andersson, Consultant at TietoEVRY
“Reverting back to my university staple (instant noodles) for lunch 3 times a week, and never going out for lunch might provide a less rich social and culinary enjoyment, but this, combined with not spending 2,000 SEK/month on public transport, has been a big boost to my personal finances.”
Nanna Wass-Gordon, Content Specialist at TietoEVRY
“Good things are that I get more time with my kids, I can make dinners that take hours in the oven, there is no need for a public transport card and my house has never been cleaner. The bad things are that I feel lonely despite seeing people on a screen, my inspiration for new ideas becomes trickier to find without spontaneous conversations with random people, I constantly see things that could be improved at home (which means I go to IKEA once a week at least ) and I now consider clean sweats perfectly reasonable as a going-out outfit.