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Discover the context and evolution of teleworking and collaborative tools

télétravail et outil collaboratif

Homeworking, a new form of nomadic work that was previously a minority and marginalised in France, has experienced an unexpected boom as a result of the global Covid-19 epidemic.

Telework is defined by Article L-1222-9 of the Labour Code as: "any form of work organisation in which work which could also have been carried out on the employer's premises is carried out by an employee away from these premises on a voluntary basis using information and communication technologies".

This new way of nomadic working, that was previously a minority and marginalised in France, has experienced an unexpected boom as a result of the global Covid-19 epidemic.

This change in work habits has shaken up companies and IT departments, who have been forced to react immediately to deploy a new work organisation, a new managerial approach and adapted collaborative tools.

Covid-19 has thus generated a real shake-up within companies, which leads us to reflect deeply on a new vision of the world of work, its interactions, its changes, its challenges and its limits.

Are we on the verge of a revolution?

What are the managerial changes linked to telework?

In contrast to some European countries, France was rather timid and late on telework issues. It has often been criticised for various reasons (technical, legal or organisational). The French manager is more reluctant to telework, especially because he or she was afraid of altering the human aspect and maintaining the link between employees.

One of the obstacles to the implementation of telework for the manager is also the difficulty of controlling his team from a distance. However, the new collaborative tools make it possible to know the presence of employees. They also offer many indicators, allowing the effective management of remote teams. This is an opportunity to change our habits and management methods and to give priority to trusting our teams. We are convinced that teleworking allows employees to be more productive if the conditions are right (ergonomic workstation, calm, business tools, etc.). It is then an opportunity to to change our habits, our management methods and focus on confidence in our teams. We are convinced that homeworking allows employees to be more productive if the conditions are right (ergonomic workstation, calm, business tools, etc.).

Homeworking, which collaborative tools?

In order for employees to work in the best possible conditions, the setting is essential. An adequate working space, if possible separate from the family space, is recommended.

When setting up the system, care must be taken to ensure that no employee is left in a situation of isolation. We recommend, for example, the introduction of telephone or video conference meetings with specific, lively themes, as well as less formal meetings, such as virtual coffee breaks, which play a decisive role in linking employees.

There are now many teleworking tools available, which allow the exchange between employees, customers and suppliers. These solutions include mobile telephony, instant messaging, document sharing and screen sharing for meetings and are accessible to all. Free and open source solutions are recommended by the State for questions of sovereignty and data security.

What are the challenges within companies and IT departments?

In view of the economic situation, the major challenges of this crisis remain the maintenance of activity and the survival of companies. This period has enabled them to be all the more creative and agile.

What will be the consequences in the short and medium term for companies and more particularly for CIOs?

From the point of view of CIOs, we have observed a calm adaptation in companies and a strong reactivity. The issues of network saturation and IT security will certainly be the most important for CIOs.

One of the risks of teleworking is the hacking of the company through the teleworker. Indeed, the company must extend the protection of its tools and data to PCs used outside the premises. One approach is to use VPNs, but this may be a constraint for some users.

What this crisis reveals

Contrary to popular belief, telework can work for different types of jobs. We are seeing a lot of positive feedback from teleworkers who are planning to continue this new organisation beyond the health crisis.

Companies will therefore have to integrate this new fact in the long term and propose a different management approach.

They will also have to deploy tools that will allow not only employees to work in the best possible conditions but also managers to monitor the real activity of their teams, since trust does not exclude control. This is a profound societal change that is coming for companies but not only, the repercussions will reach all strata of society.

Remote working will inevitably develop in several areas of activity (remote training, remote teaching, remote medicine, etc.). It is also likely to cause serious difficulties for commercial real estate professionals and the appearance of a crisis of use for large business centres, such as La Défense in Paris. What need can a company have for a complete tower when only ⅓ of its workforce will be present on the site simultaneously? There will also be an impact on the whole ecosystem deployed around the company, the restaurants, the car parks, the concierge services... More teleworking also means less travel by transport or by car, so less pollution, less time lost, less stress.

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