According to a recent study from Tania Saba, an emeritus researcher at the University of Montreal, reorganising remote work structures is no easy task, for two main reasons.
Firstly, not knowing what other team members are working on makes the informal flow of information between colleagues more difficult, which can cause anxiety for some. Secondly, the feeling of being cut off from organizational decisions is also a concern for many. Young people are especially prone to feeling like this. Some are concerned that being removed from the company headquarters will hurt their careers1.
Of course, tasks performed in an office are not performed in the same way remotely. Some adjustments to the new environment are required. For example, during video calls, it’s important to learn to respect each person’s time to speak, mute and unmute yourself appropriately and even “raise your hand” like you’re back at school!
To compensate for the lack of direct contact associated with remote work, it is important to develop and maintain relationships.
According to Estelle Morin, professor in the Management Department at HEC Montréal, there must be a clear distinction between lockdown and telework2. When there isn’t an active public health crisis, remote work allows you to travel to clients, work in collaborative spaces and walk or go out for meals with coworkers. Social contact is healthy and necessary… and doesn’t necessarily have to take place only around the coffee machine, as inspiring as it may be.
When it comes to on-screen relationships, Estelle Morin argues that with empathy and authenticity, it is possible to form bonds despite distance. “You have to develop a feeling of closeness, which is built through the quality of your conversations,” she says. To get there, frequent, regular contact, even short contact, can be helpful. “This helps us understand and internalize other people’s ways of working and thinking,” she continues.
Of course, remote work has its limits, and a combination with in-person moments can create a nice balance. For example, at the beginning of a professional relationship, meetings in person can help to create bonds that can then be maintained remotely.
In short, remote work can have a lot of positive aspects, especially when combined with in-person time in hybrid mode.