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Solutions for remote work, Tomasz Miłosz, SIGMA webinar, 15 December 2020


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Supporting paper by Tomasz Miłosz, Hungary, on solutions for remote work (case study), presented at the SIGMA webinar on "Are human resource management practices resilient and agile enough to address the next COVID-like crisis?", held on 15 December 2020.

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Solutions for remote work, Tomasz Miłosz, SIGMA webinar, 15 December 2020

  1. 1. 2 Rue André Pascal 75775 Paris Cedex 16 France Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 24 82 00 This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union (EU). It should not be reported as representing the official views of the EU, the OECD or its member countries, or of partners participating in the SIGMA Programme. The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the authors. This document, as well as any data and any map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. © OECD 2020 – The use of this material, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found on the OECD website page SOLUTIONS FOR REMOTE WORK – A CASE STUDY Tomasz Miłosz, GiGlike founder and CEO, previously PwC CEE Human Capital Leader Why: What was the problem, what did not work? Why was there a need for such a solution? Historically, the employment deal has mainly consisted of employees delivering work that is generally in the form of labour or knowledge and employers providing compensation. Over time, we have seen the greatest changes to this deal during periods of high disruption or crisis. Common responses have focused on adjusting compensation or benefits by adding new elements (such as new services or support) to counter the strong labour market pressure and attract and retain high performers. In 2020, we experienced another period of high disruption. The pandemic, followed by a global economic downturn, has caused massive disruption. Organisations have had to experiment with new ways to support their employees, for example, with working from home. The lockdown in Spring 2020 in many European countries has put great pressure on employees and organisations to figure out how to adjust effectively, where remote work has become the new normal. Working remotely brings many new aspects to our way of working and daily routine, but the biggest challenges are self-management and managing others - remote management of teams. This new way of working is an opportunity to create a more human employment deal that is beneficial for organisations and employees. What? Description of a tool/solution The main aim was to navigate the new environment and help shift towards a remote way of working. It was critical for the organisation to create an environment where employees could feel safe and healthy, digitally prepared for work and actively engaged with clients and other team members. At the same time, client support and operations needed to maintain the same level of service. Instead of a long and complicated policy, a two-page document was developed to provide a quick response to the new context of employees having to work from home. The aim was to prepare something short and simple, which was easy to use immediately.
  2. 2. 2 The document focused on technical aspects of working from home, such as logistics and technology, traditional connectivity tools including e-mail, telephone or instant messaging. Additionally, some basic information was provided on how to run virtual meetings and virtually collaborate with others, including the team. The two-pager was developed quickly and was sent to all employees. Managers and those leading teams could also receive additional, practical information on how to implement this for themselves and for the teams they managed. Both self-management and team management were critical. The best practices presented below helped to ensure continued security, productivity, and motivation while working remotely. Activity Actions Personal information ● Update your information in the agreed sites: ○ telephone number (mobile and fixed line), ○ e-mail address, ○ instant messaging (chats), ○ calendar updated with time off, holidays, etc. Logistics and technology ● Ensure understanding of collaborative tools (incl. instant messaging, conference calls numbers, video meeting and other company-specific collaborative tools) ● Test technological tools in advance to ensure full functionality and your familiarity ● Check your home internet connection and find an alternative in case of emergency ● Consider time-zone differences and business hours ● If available request and order hardware to support remote work E-mail ● Be extra proactive, clear, and detailed in your e-mails, acknowledge when received and follow up accordingly ● Make a quick phone call rather than sending non-productive e- mail ● Update your e-mail signature (incl. cell phone number and photo if possible) Phone ● Redirect your fixed line to your mobile number (if applicable) ● Update voicemail message (if applicable) ● Be aware of background noise (i.e., headphones, mute button) ● Charge your phone and headphones; carry a power bank/charger ● Diligently reply to calls and text messages ● Confirm whether calling and texting on cell phones is acceptable Instant messaging ● Sign in and be available on company instant messaging platform ● Allow instant messaging platform to acknowledge messages when received, set status according to your activity (i.e. ‘Do Not Disturb’ when presenting, ‘Away’ when not at computer)
  3. 3. 3 Virtual meetings ● Update meeting invitations in calendar with the virtual meeting information and clearly describe the topic of the meeting and speakers ● Be early to meetings and if you are the host initiate the meeting a few minutes in advance ● Prepare materials in advance and check what you have open on your screen before sharing it with other meeting participants. Always send documents in pdf format before calls so that people can read them on the phone ● Use video during meetings, if available, so that you can see your colleagues ● Welcome everybody and do not forget to roll-call and identify all participants ● Use techniques such as round table to avoid talking over one another ● If required, assign somebody to take detailed notes with action items or record the meeting; distribute after the call ● Understand others’ working constraints. For example, if you are expecting some distraction during a call, let people know it in advance (dog, baby, delivery etc.) ● Keep a buffer of 5-10 minutes between subsequent meetings to avoid overlaps of meetings Remote collaboration (with the team) ● Try to plan your remote work like a day in the office. Choose a comfortable and convenient work space at your home/remote work location if possible ● Dress appropriately and consider your surroundings and background noise ● Be sensitive to others – you may not know what your team members are going through or how they are affected by the current state of affairs ● Set up regular catch-ups with your team (incl. non-work related) so that your teams and colleagues feel connected ● Have a regular team discussion ● Review team governance to mitigate potential risks or simplify processes ● Actively communicate with your team What results: what were the benefits of the solution, how does it work in practice, lessons learnt The main benefits of this solution were that the proposed two-pager was very simple and easy to use. Everybody could use the guidelines with immediate effect. The feedback given mentioned that while these guidelines covered basic logistics and technical issues, they also included some information on how to interact with others. The sudden switch to remote work due to lockdown went quite smoothly and most of the employees were able to successfully deliver their work. One group initially struggled, but a dedicated support plan was created and implemented. Another group, more adept at remote working, asked for further information on technical and communication skills. The employees who were the most adept or proficient in remote working were asked to directly support, on a one-to-one basis, those who had asked for assistance. This kind of mentoring was helpful and was seen as a very effective transformation tool.