Teleworking at Evolution: how our houses have become our best offices
Teleworking is not the future: it is the present. In 2020, many employees have become familiar with this practice, which seems to have come to stay. Due to the particularities of the COVID-19 crisis, the concept of on-site working has changed. Now, teleworking is a reality in many countries.
Evolution took the opportunity and decided to implement a full time remotely working policy. In that way, we continued managing our regular responsibilities as if we were at the office.
Fortunately, Evolution had an advantage. David Gil, People & Talent Manager, explains it to us: “We already worked remotely one day a week, so an internal policy was already in place. This allowed us to know what to do and how to succeed working from home”. Therefore, he tells us this transition happened in a simple and agile way. “This didn’t catch us by surprise, we were prepared,” he concludes.
Even though we already had all the material and online tools to transform our houses into fully functional offices, we had to make a joint effort to continue being the same team as always.
What have been the main challenges?
During those first few months, we have all found new challenges to face. “The main difficulty for me was to demonstrate that I could also develop my position from home because everything is digital nowadays! And I think I have succeeded!”, happily explains Pilar Muñoz, who had to adjust her face-to-face Office Manager position to an online modality.
“We have learned to communicate with our team from a distance”, reveals Eva Zamarro, Director of Finance & Administration. Several departments have shared this concern of maintaining a good communication with the team. David Gil emphasises the importance of building confidence among workers. He tells us: “We used to work face-to-face. In this paradigm shift, we had to trust that tasks were getting done. We had to calm and convince our colleagues that all our work plans were going to be OK”.
To communicate that confidence David was talking about, we have learned to incorporate techniques to do our best and maintain continuous monitoring of our responsibilities. Accordingly, Víctor Rodríguez, Project Manager and Head of EU Programs, says: “I have had to make an extra effort to hold one-on-one weekly meetings with my team members. I needed to be more aware of how tasks and relationships with customers were progressing. Before, I just had to get up from my desk and went to their job sites to ask them”.
Apart from these difficulties, we had to add the personal ones. One of the main consequences of teleworking has been the work-life balance. Teresa Maestro, Senior Innovation Consultant in our Valencia office, combined teleworking with taking care of her baby. Although it has been a positive experience, she tells us that it has not been easy: “Especially during the first month, in which we still didn’t hire a nanny to help us. We had to work and take care of the toddler at the same time. It is complicated to carry out both tasks in a satisfactory way since you have the feeling that you are not doing it completely fine.”
Víctor, who has children too,agrees on the importance of including a flexible working hours policy “so that you could plan your day considering work and personal needs, taking advantage of the quietest moments at home to be more focussed.”
We are still #closebutnotnear
“Perhaps because of our culture, we like to keep a very personal contact”, says Eva, who tells us that weekly meetings have become essential, not only to carry out the work but also to feel the team closer. “It is a joy to work with them, a worthy experience from a human point of view”, Pilar says. She feels delighted with the communication among her team and how they have been able to help each other in these difficult times, “when someone is fine, the work develops by itself. But the most important thing is to take care of each other, to listen to each other”.
We had this effort to stay together not only with the usual team but also with the new hirings who have started their work at Evolution from their homes. María Flores, for example, joined the team as Project Manager from Seville in July. Even though it is difficult to maintain a global vision of the company without knowing anyone physically, her colleagues have always made her feel part of the team. “They have made integration very easy for me. They are always available to lend a hand, answer any question… And even to take a virtual coffee!”. “Not having met the new hirings has not been a problem,” adds Víctor, who has added four new members to his team, “we have reached them daily to see how they are doing… We have tried to make them feel that sense of connection, of belonging”.
In these months, we have continued doing team-building activities and online meetings to be able to keep our relationship as always. However, there are some specific aspects of face-to-face work that our colleagues miss. “We are humans, and we need to interact. Also, at the office, we had an excellent bond,” says Víctor. “I don’t think we have to lose those personal relationships. They bring the team together and, definitely, the company”, adds David, “without any contact with the team, we can lose the awareness of reality”.
What are we learning from teleworking?
Despite all those things we miss from the office, all of us have learned a lot from the situation.
We have included new techniques and strategies into our routine, which have made us more productive. Eva emphasises what is vital for her: “the organisation of tasks and the workspace. It has helped me to set personal milestones as I move forward. Not planning a final goal, but rather setting small steps, to be able to advance better”.
David also talks to us about this. Indeed, he believes that our team is more coordinated than when we were at the office: “We are improving in being more decisive. We are more autonomous and independent, more dynamic now. Everything is much more agile”.
Víctor is very satisfied with the work of his team: “Even though people are working from home, from other cities… We have not noticed a lower performance. We have obtained better results teleworking because we achieve greater concentration, we do not have the typical distractions of an office, and we have achieved better flexibility”.
For our employees, a better disposition and emotional stability are complementing this situation. “We have improved our quality of life”, Pilar tells us, “it strengthens your self-esteem and confidence: your superiors trust you from a distance, which makes you more responsible”.
With regard to physical presence, Eva adds that “if we can avoid the traditional face-to-face office, we can help those people who must go to their jobs. This is good not only for the company and people but also on a social, health and even environmental level”.
Socially, we do not stop listening to reflections on how this situation is significantly changing assumptions. The notion of the office is one of them. David, as a Human Resources professional, is also aware of this transformation: “Before, since the office was the only thing we knew, we understood it as something essential. However, although it is still useful and important, it is not as necessary as we thought”.
Our team is proud to be successfully experiencing this paradigm transformation by themselves. Evolution has experienced a real professional progress by allowing us to do our jobs remotely. “Before, it was normal to offer some kind of different social benefit in work contracts. Now, this seems outdated. Teleworking is the new engagement with employees: it is the new work privilege”, concludes Víctor.
We all have our personal experience with teleworking. Still, we share the same feeling: we have been able to develop our position successfully, and we are fascinated by demonstrating that another way of working is possible. “I am very proud of Evolution: from the new hires to the usual colleagues, the managers… We all have done our bit to keep the work running,” confesses Pilar with a smile. Víctor also shares this feeling, who has achieved to be more productive and enjoyed his work routine more: “At the end of the day, I close my computer, and I feel satisfied. And this is our goal: ending every day with that feeling of productivity”.
And you? Do you also consider teleworking relevant? Would you live this experience from inside our team?