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how telecommuting will change corporate culture

Фото Getty Images

Фото Getty Images

Organizations that have switched to remote work gradually get the opportunity to return to the office. Pavel Gontarev, Managing Director of Mail.ru Digital Technologies, reflects on what has given companies the experience of remote work and how it can change corporate culture

After the first news about the danger of personal contacts due to coronavirus, office spaces turned out to be the most vulnerable element, which businesses around the world began to get rid of almost instantly. In Russia, according to the Statista service, 35% of companies transferred over 76% of employees to a remote work format. It was obvious to everyone that this is a temporary trend, but now everything is not so simple: some employers were surprised to find that their remote teams can still be as effective as offline.

Today, one in six companies plans to leave part of their team at home, they tell us results of the research “Raboty.ru”, but in the beginning of a business, especially a large one, it was not easy to establish interaction between its own employees and maintain their involvement in work processes. Emergency digitalization, which made it possible to survive the initial period, provided only the most basic tools for remote communication – video conferencing, email, messenger and telephony. Of course, these are all tools that simplify the organization of the workflow, but this is definitely not all that is required to create an effective team capable of proposing strategic and creative solutions.

Do I need to control the working hours of a remote employee?

One of the main tasks of an employer in an environment where people spend 7-8 hours online is to win the fight for the attention of their employees and ensure a quality distribution of time in which they will work more than looking at products in an online store or scrolling through social networks. …

Today, companies specializing in remote monitoring of employees talk about a sharp increase in the popularity of their solutions, but in reality, such services are hardly able to help: in order to increase the level of productivity, you need to work not with how much time the employee spent in front of the computer turned on. any office program or corporate system interface, but with his heart and head.

Social networks, online services, internet services and voice assistants – in our daily life, we are all surrounded by the most modern technologies. Therefore, providing employees with comfortable and convenient digital services is one of the main tasks for a business, on which more and more money and time is spent: if three years ago, according to experts from Josh Bersin AcademySince spending on improving user experience and creating an employee experience grew by 4.8% annually, the changes in 2020 should double this increase.

How to organize «live communication»‎?

In an attempt to gauge the overall mood and productivity of their employees, many companies conducted remote surveys during the pandemic. We at Mail.ru Group also organized a number of such interviews and always received approximately the same results – people do not have enough live communication.

Due to the changed nuances of the organization of the workspace – in conditions when informal and unstructured conversations have disappeared – the process of exchanging useful knowledge, but at the same time not related to any specific agenda, which usually took place in kitchens, at the cooler and in smoking room. It became obvious that simply providing “direct communications” was no longer enough. One way or another, all organizations faced this: research findings international research company Ipsos, a third of employees are skeptical about remote work, as they feel a lack of personal communication with both colleagues and clients. What a replacement for “kitchen brainstorming» can the employer give in the conditions of remote work?

It turned out that in order to organize unstructured communication and return brainstorms, where the main layer of ideas was generated, not only special digital tools are needed, but also certain social mechanics that could be combined in one place.

Socialization is the path of cultural change

Humanity has already faced the task of organizing an unstructured digital interaction between people united by some social factor. An obvious guideline for employers in solving this problem is public social networks. They were created for the organization of free communication more than 15 years ago: in order to give people the opportunity to keep in touch with those with whom it is impossible to meet live. “It’s not clear why exactly to communicate, but I really want to right now” – the motto of such platforms as, for example, “Odnoklassniki” and “VKontakte”, is relevant, as it turned out, for the practice of remote work.

The social network with the prefix “corporate” has existed for a long time, but only now it has shown itself as a really effective tool for organizing work processes. However, unlike other means of support for remote work (telephony, electronic document management and video communication), which can be deployed within a few days or even hours if desired, the implementation of a corporate social network takes several months. At the same time, the main difficulty here concerns not the technical component, but the engagement mechanic – in order for people to want to use the service, and not just follow the order from above, it is necessary to first study the company, its employees and specialization.

To attract employees to a corporate platform, you can use a variety of tools that have proven themselves in public networks. First, working with opinion leaders, formal and informal. They act as role models that motivate others to use the same products and services as they do. Secondly, inspired or viral communication. In a corporate environment, as in Instagram or any other social network, they are transmitted from user to user, engaging in communication and thereby performing the same fundamental task – increasing engagement. The third tool, gamification, is proving to be a time-honored element of loyalty programs for major brands and retailers. Given that people, by and large, behave in the Internet environment in the same way, the same toolkit can work well both in traditional Internet services and in the context of corporate solutions.

Now or never

The transition to remote work in quarantine conditions is a huge stress for the organization. Employees at all levels of management, being “in a new reality,” look for themselves in a new way, organize their work space and time, and build communications. At this point, they are most receptive to change, ready to use new tools and embrace new values.

In the face of this stress, company leaders have the opportunity to drive tectonic cultural shifts that would simply not have been possible in other circumstances. Therefore – now or never. Look back at your organization, think about its cultural code. How developed are horizontal communications, principles of self-organization, and creative processes? How involved are your people in the work process, are they with you in mind and heart? There won’t be a better time to work on this area, and the digital tools for change are already in place.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the point of view of the editorial board

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