It is no news the world is going through increasingly faster and more disruptive changes, many of them caused by technological advances and by the alternance of the psychosocial anchors, which have affected considerably the corporate environment.
The relationship between man and work has changed along the various industrial revolutions. Especially, Industry 4.0 has contributed significantly to the emergence of new work formats. In the social ethics transition, as Daniel Motta upholds, the paradigm of work shifts from the “duty” to the “pleasure” relationship, driving a social norm more focused on the individual and on their quest for expression, impact and experience.
Coupled to that, organizations have been challenged to review their people management practices. In this context, the workforce has started calling for environments that are more open to diversity and inclusion, less hierarchic, and more flexible. And to be attractive, many organizations offer work-from-home (WFH) in response to that quest for flexibility.
Up until the onset of COVID-19, a limited number of companies truly practiced that work mode. When organizations, even those that had not tried telecommuting, had to adapt their administrative and commercial structures overnight. Even the most skeptical managers were forced to try the new format.
However, the habit of telecommuting was already a reality to some companies, especially those in technology. Silicon Valley’s digital natives already hired remote labor, even foreign, coordinating time zones with collaborative deliverables. A radical example of the WFH model is the American GitLab, a company 100% remote – including its C-level. A function was created to support that model: the Head of Remote Work, who must have a strategic mind, excel at building relationships, passion for experience design, and excel at change processes and management. GitLab has become the largest fully-remote organization in the world, with approximately 1,300 employees in more than 65 countries.
It is clear working remotely may represent a radical change, requiring complete reengineering of how people think work, where and when it happens. It is a complex challenge that will require a slower transition from companies, mostly from the already-established great monoliths, which have perceived the arrival of the hybrid model as an undeniable legacy of Coronavirus’s social-distancing phase.
Creating flexible working hours, in which the associate may choose to telecommute, whether based on frequency or the type of deliverable that will model the possibilities of turning in-person work into remote, is emerging as the new post-pandemic reality. Even if the format had been previously adopted by certain industries – in fact, talking about telecommuting is no news – the difference is that this time it has become mainstream in the relationship of people and their work. There will be roles and conditions whose degree of flexibility will be delimited within the organizations, but this factor of attractiveness and retention has expanded across sectors and markets.
All that has challenged the corporate world recurrently, bringing many questions to light – nonetheless with few conclusions: after all, will telecommuting work for every type of organization? How will organizational culture be affected, once a better part of the workforce will be distant? How will leaders act in the face of these new work formats?
GitLab has already started presenting some of those answers, and companies such as Facebook and Quora have also started moving more strongly to establish telecommuting within their governance structures. An indication, perhaps alarming, for Human Resources professionals, who must be ready to prepare the senior and middle leadership in remote management practices, at the same time as they review policies and rethink suitable tools to preserve and foster collaboration, and other intrinsic characteristics to the consolidation of each organization’s culture.
Pida Lamin is a BMI senior partner. Graduated in Social Communication from PUCCAMP, with specialization in Human Resources from FGV. A Master’s candidate in Business Management at FIA Business School. Nearly 30 years’ experience in the Human Resources area in large-sized multinationals in different industries, in the past 15 years Lamin held positions in executive committees of companies such as Schneider Electric, Novartis, TNT Express, L'Occitane, Sanofi and Hospital Sírio Libanês. Proven experience leading cultural transformation and leadership development processes, especially triggered by mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, changes in organizational models, to mention a few.
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