It has been two months since my article entitled “The End of the Plaza Empire and the Inevitable Rise of Telework in Business Life”. During this time, the perception of risk concerning the coronavirus in the world has decreased due to the relative decrease in the number of cases, distraction, and acclimation. Employees began using offices, more in line with social distancing rules. This has left me and my generation in a dilemma. While I was unwilling to work remotely and yet have grown accustomed to it, now the return to the offices has begun. In fact, of course, the hybrid model is the most correct one. However, let us not also forget that, before the pandemic, working two days a week “from home” was also an abused subject in the sense of working only three days a week.
Meanwhile both in Turkey and abroad in daily newspapers and magazine articles have published reviews on a variety of telework. Obviously, most of them are not different from what I mentioned in my article and do not examine the subject in depth. Here I summarize Maria Haggerty’s articles “4 signs that your team will not be able to work from home in the long run” and Chip Cutter’s “Companies finally think that working from home is not a great thing“.
According to Haggerty’s article, Gartner Survey met with 229 HR executives in the U.S. and found that 41% of employees are likely to work part-time remotely. This compared to 30% before the pandemic. Many companies in Haggerty are preparing to work from home in the long run, but there are signs that some cannot do it, she says, and she summarizes these signs in the following four headings:
1– It is difficult to collaborate remotely. Physically coming together, discussing and brainstorming gives a different type of energy. This collaboration is important for some creative work. It is not found in telework. Because the essence of cooperation is communication.
2– Vulnerability is a cost. Telework reduces overall administration costs. However security risks create vulnerability as homeworkers connect to the Internet from public networks. For this reason, connecting to company IT from home remotely requires support. This is another cost.
3– People want socialization. It is difficult for employees to get used to their physical, economic and mental conditions working from home. They enjoy being at work.
4– It is difficult to measure performance. Measuring performance by results alone may not be a fair process. The efforts of the employee are important. These efforts cannot be evaluated remotely.
In Catter’s article, the fact that telework is not attractive is attributed to the long duration of projects in remote work, the decrease in the quality of work, and the training of new employees and their orientation to the company. It is emphasized that it is not possible for new recruiters to learn the job from young people who work with them in telework and this is a big deficiency. It is said that working remotely has been carried out in a discipline with the fear of losing a job, but it is not possible to sustain this fear in the long term. It is also claimed that problems are solved in an hour, face to face, instead of a day of telework. They state in telework, people cannot read body language, interact instantly, and do not understand company jargon. According to Catter’s article, half of Canon’s 11,000 employees voluntarily returned to work last month.
After making such a negative entry, Catter switches to the opposite corner and tells us that the future will develop as a hybrid system, with more time being allocated towards working remotely, but the teams will have regular office hours, and some companies have already switched to this system. For example, the online education company Coursera announced that half of 650 employees will work in the office for 3 days and 2 days remotely after the pandemic period. In Discovery Financial Service, where thousands of people work, less than 1 in 3 preferred to work remotely, while the majority preferred to work hybrid and flexible. I think that what the HR manager of this company, Andy Eichfeld, said is the lifeblood of the work:
“I think that the corporate culture we created has gradually disappeared in remote work management. We still need to save it while he can! ”
In the two articles above, it is very clearly seen in the negative approaches that Eichfeld speaks with the old mindset. What Eichfeld should do is to reproduce the existing company culture under remote working conditions, and if he cannot then create a new culture according to the conditions of the new world. Likewise, adapt the performance system, business manner, collaboration communication, job satisfaction conditions to new hybrid conditions.
Yıldız Holding has already begun implementing culture-building projects in line with the “new normal”… For example, the “Digital Corridor” application, which turns spontaneous conversations into digital socialization tools, has already been launched. Employees of all levels, chosen randomly by the digital application every week, come together on the online platform, and find an opportunity to socialize.
Yıldız Holding’s CEO Mehmet Tütüncü regarding the problems of socializing in remote work states, “… The age of digitalization we are in offers us new opportunities in such issues. The Digital Corridor is one of them. The goal is the happiness and motivation of the employees …” , while explaining this innovation, he states his opinion about telework in a correspondence as follows: “I think the jobs that can be worked completely from afar will be outsourced in the future. There are office-related jobs that can be managed outside the office. We can also experience two separate structures, crisis and working under normal conditions.”
Let’s not forget that new youth will come from schools by learning the conditions of distance education and distance work better equipped. It should not be difficult for them to establish a new normal orientation system and to create a remote/hybrid working culture. As long as we want, as long as we don’t overshadow them with the old normal.
At the end of my article titled “The End of the Plaza Empire and the Inevitable Rise of Telework in Business Life”, I listed the following 8 points by saying “In conclusion, our suggestions for the immediate implementation of the above projects are as follows”. I find it useful to repeat them once again as all eight points are still valid:
1. To obtain efficiency from the teleworking method, firstly an office should be established in the house with material, technical equipment, and support from the company.
2. The teleworker must have at least 1day work in the company office. This working day should be fixed and the services such as the central office dining room and service should be adapted. Teleworkers should not take advantage of flexible working hours.
3. Priority should be given to the teleworking staff’s work processes, technology, and software support that enable them to see the whole, this software should be extremely simple, technological problems and complexities should not be an obstacle. It should not be forgotten that the Teams application is currently widely-used throughout Yıldız Holding.
4. Tele- daily, weekly, and monthly performance management applications should be adapted for employees, and KPIs should be provided through this application. Safety and convenience features should be the most important issues in the applications to be used.
5. Supporting the teleworker to show the entire work, providing communication and cooperation, and enabling them to work fast are the factors that increase the satisfaction of the teleworker in business life. These projects should be put into operation simultaneously.
6. Another important issue is the training, motivation, and mental state of the teleworker and their regular follow-up. These applications should be implemented as soon as possible. At Yıldız Holding, there is now an application that asks the employees “how are you” every day with the help of AI. This application will be expanded again with the help of AI.
7. When developing all systems, processes, applications, utilizing artificial intelligence analysis and bots (robotic processes) should be the primary principle.
8. The fact that telework is a part of our way of doing business permanently depends on the quality of leadership that is put forward when all projects are implemented and afterward. Leaders should be visible, clear, communicate well, and the barriers in the middle should be eliminated with the HR department to keep the home employee connected with the company.
If 8 items are applied, a home-based working system can be established after the pandemic that works well and performs well.
(1) Haggerty, Maria. “4 Signs Your Team Can’t Work From Home Long-Term.” Inc.com, Inc., 25 June 2020, www.inc.com/maria-haggerty/4-signs-your-team-cant-work-from-home-long-term.html.