The organization of a corporate teleworking system must obey a management model.

From the point of view of working people, teleworking has many advantages. In general, those who prefer this modality present higher levels of motivation towards their functions. They also tend to have higher levels of commitment to the Company. But this is not the case in all cases and a good management model must be able to detect this.

From the point of view of the company, one of the objectives is to ensure that teleworkers perform equal to or better than the rest. Although it seems obvious, not all organizations put all the effort into that goal. Many lack a performance management ‘control room’, much less when it comes to the performance of remote workers. In any case, the organization of a corporate teleworking system must obey a management model.

Next we are going to give some guidelines to ensure that an organization can say that it knows the performance of its teleworkers. And we will do so by generalizing, perhaps excessively, because in this text we cannot differentiate by activity sectors or company sizes. Some of you may say, with reason, that this analysis is a responsibility that must be the responsibility of each manager. But here we try to lay the foundations of a strategic scorecard that can serve so that Senior Management knows the state of the situation and can make decisions about it. And as always in these cases it is about managing not based on impressions, but based on data.

These are the main levers that we must take into account so that our teleworking model is more efficient:

  • Telephone management.

It may seem like a very basic concept in this digital age, but telephone customer service is essential. Every unanswered call is a lost business opportunity. That is why it is essential for a teleworker organization to know the level of overflow of the calls received in each business unit (or even on a personal level). By overflow index we understand those calls missed (not answered) for every hundred incoming calls. To get to know this information it is important that the teleworking system is based on a unified communications model. We must avoid managing by calls via mobile phone (which will also exist, as in the case of face-to-face work). Something similar is happening with email service, which we’ll cover in more depth in a future article.

  • Meeting management.

As we pointed out in our article ‘How to improve the efficiency of your virtual meetings’, having video meetings has many advantages. Save time and travel costs, increase digital skills and collaborative work, etc. But it is also important that Senior Management has a direct report on the meetings held, their conclusions and their follow-up. One of the worst things that can happen to an organization is falling into excess of useless meetings. Keep in mind that this is a danger that is accentuated in the virtual world, since there is no expense management component that face-to-face meetings have.

  • Process management.

In a somewhat simplistic way we can differentiate between those working people whose job is based more on process management from those that is based more on project management. There is little we can add here about the benefits that process management has brought to business management in the last half century. But it is not enough to define and diagram these processes. In the new digital environment, it is very important to provide ourselves with indicators that allow us to trace each process. In this way, we will be able to know, almost in real time, their levels of progress, as well as assess the performance by business units and possible problems from the organizational point of view. It should also be taken into account that, sometimes, remote work requires a process reengineering exercise that must always be carried out before starting the model.

  • Projects management.

It provides the necessary capacity for innovation to be able to keep each organization at the forefront of its market or sector. Working people who, due to their functions, work through projects have used to have greater autonomy than those who work through processes. However, it is important to remember the essential guidelines to follow: a good project manager who assigns tasks and deadlines, project management software that provides traceability to project management, and a project governance system with the corresponding report by KPI’s to different internal stakeholders.

  • Change management.

Changes in organizations are far from easy, especially those that involve an evolution in the cultural model of the company that has been established throughout its history. It is very important to establish a gantt chart of project implementation, accompanying managers and workers in the process. That means a series of steps will have to be followed:

    • Determination of the necessary tools to telework by job. It will also be important to know if these tools will be the responsibility of the worker (BYOD, bring your own device) or will the company be responsible for it.
    • Management of the different legal requirements, from the contractual novation agreement, if applicable, to the occupational risk assessment aspects of the job.
    • Training for managers. It is very important to develop the skills necessary to lead remote teams. They are not the same as for face-to-face teams.
    • Training for working people. The goal is always to maximize the performance of the teleworker. To do this, it is critical to maximize your training possibilities, to help you adapt as quickly to this new work environment.
  • Connection management.

It is undoubtedly the least relevant lever when measuring the performance of a teleworker organization. But it is no less necessary for that. Teleworkers have the same obligation to register their schedule (something highly debatable in the 21st century) as other working people. Likewise, the company has the same obligation to measure that working and connection time to guarantee that the working time contractually agreed with each worker is not exceeded. Nor that there are grievances from those people who meet their schedule compared to those who do not. But make no mistake, these are hygienic data that do not measure performance and therefore have a relative value. Be careful not to focus on that value, we can fall into ‘telepresentism’.

The importance of control and monitoring of the model.

The aforementioned indicators can constitute a dashboard for Senior Management to monitor the work model. Beyond the fact that someone may value it as an excess in the power of organization and control of the company, well applied it can be a very valuable tool for this new business culture to consolidate, which will end up benefiting both the company and the workers.
In any case, any telework management model must be accompanied by a systemic corporate project. In this way, it is important to plan, design and unify its implementation. And also hope that the regulation (at the moment there is a draft bill on remote work) does not represent an inconvenience for companies to decide to move forward on that path.

In any case, remember: the success of a corporate telework model is due to a management model. Not to an improvisational model.