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"We need to change a bit to make the most of this new normal."

More people will work from home and downtown office hubs. We will be more present in our lives. But there is a catch.

Trond Vinje / June 04, 2020
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We need to change a bit to make the most of this new normal, says Trond Vinje, Executive Vice President for Human Resources at TietoEVRY.

NEW WAYS OF WORKING: Cooperating remotely in an efficient way with our coworkers requires us to set even clearer expectations and give more direct feedback, the HR Manager Trond Vinje explains.

We entered the “new normal” only two or three months ago, yet many of us have quickly established new routines in the world of a remote office, constant handwashing, eating in and video conferences.

But what will be the long term consequences of you and I implementing new behaviours in our everyday private and professional lives?

“We need to change a bit to make the most of this new normal. On the one hand, the new normal is providing us with more time which allows us to be more present in our lives. A recent survey for employees at TietoEVRY also shows that most of our colleagues are experiencing a greater level of productivity”, says Trond Vinje, Executive Vice President for Human Resources at TietoEVRY.

On the other hand, a remote office might not be the best solution for everyone.  “This is something that employers should be aware of, and facilitating for different needs”, he elaborates.

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Trond points to the fact that every person’s needs are different when it comes to motivation and drive. Social needs might play an important role in your performance – informal discussions might be important for your motivation and ways to proceed with tasks.

“We have fewer points of contact in our everyday lives now. When you don’t sit in the same office space as your colleagues, one might feel like needing to have an agenda to be able to pick up the phone and call them,” he elaborates.

A great level of trust is needed

Cooperating remotely in an efficient way with our coworkers requires us to set even clearer expectations and give more direct feedback, the HR Manager explains.

We need to set clearer goals and expectations and provide more direct feedback to each other. This new way of working is demanding a great level of trust, and leaders may even have to adapt their personal leadership style, and that inevitably involves nurturing a high-trust culture and building a connection with colleagues even if you are physically far apart.

“A great level of trust is needed,” Trond says.

Nick Vertigans of the Nordic Leadership Network, a non-profit that aids leaders in their development, agrees that trust is the vital ingredient in effective teams.

“The key predictor of performance is the quality of a relationship with a team member. And that begins with trust. Leaders must take the time to find out how people are as opposed to launching into a project update,” Nick says.

“The best leaders are calling their key people and asking one simple question: ''How are you doing?” And they’re going to listen and say nothing for five minutes.”

More office hubs and remote work

A recent survey by YouGov for TietoEVRY shows that nearly half of all workers in Sweden have worked more from home to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Encouragingly, of those who do work from home, as many as 78 percent believe that their organization has the know-how and digital tools required for effective remote working.

The majority also believe their managers have the capabilities to work digitally.

The results of the survey from Finland shows that remote work does not reduce work efficiency: close to one-third of Finns have worked remotely in recent weeks in accordance with pandemic recommendations, and 14 percent said they have switched to remote work altogether. 46 percent said they work even more efficiently remotely or not feel that remote work affected their efficiency in a negative way. 38 percent could not say about the effects of remote work on their work.

Among Norwegians, the survey shows that one in four is positive about working remotely from home and over a third of the respondents believe they will be working more outside of the office even after offices are opened and returning to business as usual.

In the immediate future, Trond thinks more companies will keep a higher level of remote work and establish workspace hubs in addition to their offices.

Recently, the giant technology company Facebook declared that within a decade as many as half of the company’s more than 48,000 employees would work from home.

TietoEVRY is also considering new solutions for more remote work and office hubs. “This will enable greater flexibility, closeness to customers and less corporate travel,” Trond explains.

As difficult as COVID-19 has been for so many people and businesses, he is hopeful that COVID-19 will have many positive effects in terms of work-life balance. Moreover, any long-lasting sustainable behaviours are, of course, also welcome as the world looks to slow down and mitigate the effects of climate change.

And not to mention the increased solutions across public and health services: digitalization is escalating, resulting in greater dialogue with citizens.

“Flexibility is a deal of trust that also requires something from both the employer and the employee. It’s a good thing to be able to pick up the children earlier from kindergarten or making dinner earlier. At the same time you then need to be able to work longer hours other days or pick up the laptop in the evening to add a few more hours to your workday, but overall I see an increased activity level – at least for our company,” says Trond.

Trond Vinje
Head of HR

Trond Vinje is Chief Human Resources Officer and part of the leadership team in Tietoevry. Diversity and inclusion are part of his daily work.

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