Remote working means (and will mean) trust

Remote working means (and will mean) trust

The COVID-19 crisis will be remembered as, among other things, an unprecedented social experiment. People’s behaviour and patience is being put to the test, bringing out the best and at times the worst in all of us. The psychological effects and changes in habits mean that we will have to change our approach to certain aspects when all this is over. The leisure, tourism and culture sectors will have to keep an eye on how their customers change their behaviour in order to position themselves in a new market. We want to focus on companies with corporate spaces, since, even though we can decide whether to travel, go to the theatre or go out for dinner, going to the office is not something that’s up to us. We mentioned in another post that these spaces might change in the way they’re used or how they function, and that remote working will be one of the concepts that will influence that transformation.

Times of crisis, time for reflection

In general, companies will be dealing with the consequences of a profound economic crisis. Some of them directly, like hotels, airlines or restaurants, and others indirectly as a result of reduced consumption and strict control of non-essential expenses. Everything is linked and few sectors will be spared, so many managers will be forced to take action. At the end of the day, we must make a profit. In this regard, we have to consider what everything costs and whether each expense-related aspect is essential. Everything will be analysed and each item will be questioned, leaving the door open to new decision-making criteria. This is where the different departments will come into play, with one key department being Facility Management in charge of offices, among many other things. The equation is simple, space is a direct multiplier of cost. Thus, if we reduce the square footage, cost is reduced, but in order to be sustainable the decision will need to determine how and where we work.

It is worth recalling that working from home (WFH) is not a new thing. It’s been possible ever since we have been using cables, whether they’re attached to a phone, computer or data network. And that’s what we do when we answer a call or an email from outside the office. The issue lies in the number of hours the situation lasts, how many days a week and what resources are available. We’ve already talked about our P.E.R.C.H.A. system and there are already a multitude of opinions on what you need or don’t need to work remotely.

Why aren’t WFH policies implemented?

According to daily duties and activities, it is estimated that 80% of office jobs could be done fully remotely. With today’s tools, easy access to technology and the low cost of devices, it would be profitable in practically 100% of cases. The question is logical; why isn’t it done? There are many reasons, but there are two facts. The first is that, for now, people still have to go to the office and the second is that going or not going to the office depends solely on each company’s location and the circumstances. At least, that’s how it was up until we went into lockdown.

The first fact is based on the idea that people must go to the office because not everyone has the personality or suitable characteristics to be able to work remotely, even if their position would allow it. In 10 years of remote working at FMHOUSE, we have had bittersweet experiences where we have not always chosen the best candidates, but we have gradually refined the selection process by asking the right questions before hiring. Remote working gives you flexibility and an incomparable work-life balance, as well as the chance to organise your schedule. But since all your team doesn’t work at the same times, this involves having to be more aware of whether someone needs something from you. In the end, this modality has to be a win-win situation; if it isn’t, it won’t work for either party.

Let’s now look at the second fact. We have to take into account that there’s a person behind every company decision. Whether it’s a multinational or a family business, in one sector or another, there’s always someone who calls the shots. Their knowledge, age, experience or level of creativity are all factors that impact the decisions, and remote working will soon be one of the aspects in hand. The key question we should ask is: Will I be able to accept the concept of work without seeing my employees or what they’¡re doing? (Here we dare ask if `keeping the seat warm´ is considered as work, even if employees are only checking their phone or just watching the day go by…)

The key: Trust

In order to work remotely, team leaders at all levels should stop asking questions like “Where are you?”, “Where were you, I called you several times?” or “What are you doing?” It’s sometimes difficult to control the urge, and this causes mistrust among those who aren’t present. An interesting fact: when we have occupation audits and the company’s undergoing internal changes or there’s a tricky situation, we see more people in the office. You might expect quite the opposite, but this can be explained by taking into account the fear of not being seen. The employees of a multinational told us that “now, more than ever, you have to be here: you arrive earlier and you leave later, even if you do nothing, because if you’re not seen, you seem superfluous and are added to the redundancy list.” More food for thought.

In the same way that you need to know how to delegate in order to be a good leader, you need to trust in order to allow staff to work remotely. Although it’s true that the company and employees should trust each other mutually, it will always start at the top, since whether or not it transpires depends on managers. What will happen from now on is unclear, but what’s certain is that remote work will be something bosses will have to decide on. If mistrust outweighs the benefits, mainly economic ones, but also environmental and social ones, they’ll have to come up with a good excuse. In any event, it won’t be ruled out entirely and it will gradually become more and more common.

We hope the heads of Facility Management departments are consulted during this course of action; unfortunately that’s not always the case, and they play a key role in this transformation process.

share on your social networks
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Do you want more information about what we do in Consultancy, Training and Research en Facility Management?

Hola, ¿cómo
podemos ayudarte?

Hello, ¿how
can we help you?

Research

FM Observatory

FM Observatory is a platform which develops and disseminates Facility Management information. It’s accessible to all those who’d genuinely like to participate. Ethical use and objectivity are essential, and all results must be shared. You decide how long you devote to it and what you want to achieve.

You can participate as:

  • Leader: define the topic and coordinate the activity
  • Collaborator: help with development

We will provide:

  • Current situation and trends regarding the subject
  • Access to experts and advisers
  • Collaborative tools
  • Design assistance and dissemination platform

All contributions will be given credit in completed projects.

Research

Projects

We are part of the European research group and we work in international teams to develop different types of initiatives:

  • Public financing
  • International bids

We also work for service providers who require support with decisions linked to:

  • Positioning
  • Product launches
  • Finding partners
Research

Standardisation

As accredited experts in the drafting processes of European and International standards on Asset and Facility Management, we are the perfect partner to assist you with:

  • Standards alignment
  • Assistance with certification
  • Specialised training

FMHOUSE is the only Spanish-speaking consulting firm that participates in these processes.

Research

Publications

At FMHOUSE we think that progress made in Facility Management should be shared, so we strive to produce and publish the following material:

  • National and international trends
  • Industry analyses
  • Market studies

The “FM Observatory” is open, should you like to contribute with a publication.

Consultancy

Workplace

Our view of spaces or workplaces from a Facility Management perspective leads to a better understanding of such a need as a service, as it is essential to apply the same logic and methodology.

Generally we offer:

  • Assessment and optimisation
  • Design strategies
  • Solutions and scenarios
  • Wellbeing and productivity

We apply our knowledge and experience to offices, learning spaces, shopping centres and the industrial environment.

Consultancy

Benchmarking

In order to make the right decisions, clear accurate market data as well as facts about the organisation itself is essential. In the Facility Management environment, this is even more critical due to the impact it has on business.

Examples of benchmarks:

  • Operating costs
  • Resource use/allocation
  • Audits and compliance assessment

These services are requested mainly by end users, but also by service providers.

Consultancy

Customer Experience

Facility Management’s overarching goal is customer satisfaction, whether they are internal or external. Understanding their feelings and needs is the key to offering a good service.

Our support is based on:

  • Satisfaction assessment
  • Customer perception
  • People-oriented models
  • Change management

We strive to understand and get to know our clients’ customers, in all sectors and types of businesses.

Consultancy

Digital Transformation

The Facility Management world is experiencing a major transition to digital environments. We help our clients understand how it impacts them and assist them throughout the change.

Our areas of support are:

  • Process digitization
  • Viability and integration
  • Digital culture
  • Technological response

We operate as independent advisers, not as brand vendors.

We advise end-users and service providers.

Consultancy

Service Models

All kinds of companies need to define or improve the way in which it structures supporting activities provided by Facility Management.

Our main products are:

  • Status diagnostics
  • Service dimensioning
  • Grouping and models
  • Help with tenders
  • Assistance with implementation

Our proposals are structured according to individual requirements.

We help end customers and also service providers.

In FMHOUSE, we use third party cookies to improve our services. If you continue with navigation, we will consider that you accept our terms of use y nuestra privacy policy y de cookies