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Telecommuting in times of COVID-19 - Vatel

Telecommuting in times of COVID-19

The Covid-19 is doing for the telecommuting in a few months more than all the dedicated marketing budgets of the major digital tool makers in recent years. The confinement of people in the face of the crown crisis.

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Faced with the crisis situation that the country is going through, Vatel Madrid teachers offer their experiences and knowledge. The Entrepreneurial Finance professor of the MBA in International Hotel & Tourism Management program Pedro Prieto makes an X-ray of Telecommuting, which, for days now, we have all signed up.


Ring Rring….Julia's alarm clock rings at 7.45. 

A short shower, she gets dressed, and with a steaming coffee she arrives at the office at 8.05.

Is Julia an Asimov character who uses teleportation? No, she just teleworks. 

Many voices speak of the global experiment on telecommuting that is going to be the epidemic that we are facing. From my point of view, a lot of valuable information and metrics will be generated, but we must start from the following premise: the situation is forced and in many cases you cannot speak of real telework. To be considered as such, it must be planned, well organized with the necessary tools, in a specific environment and, above all, it must be linked to a way of working that is goal-oriented. Going home with your computer, working trying to be as similar as possible to when you worked in person and to babysitting ... is an attempt at telecommuting. Spain has one of the lowest telework rates in the EU, close to 4%. It is also true that the basis of our economy perhaps makes us less permeable to these practices, in any case, even in positions easily carried out remotely, this is not done. On the other hand, in Spain we have networks well above the European average. The fiber deployed in our country is notably superior to that of neighboring countries, more than the sum of Germany, France and England together.Adopting the necessary technologies so that part of a company can telework is simple. They are very mature tools already, highly effective and generally cheap or better said with a good ROI. At the company infrastructure level, there are more and more solutions to “tunnel” the connection to its servers and thus give access to internal tools. One of the risks may be the security of the connections, but it is still a problem with a good solution. Ok, everything looks good, then…

Why don't we telecommute more?

The main obstacle is mistrust. Many years of an ingrained culture of face-to-face has resulted in less flexibility. The traditional way of monitoring work torpedoes taking telework naturally. The biggest stumbling block is leaving behind the micromanagement practices of many managers who see teleworking as a form of lack of control with uncertain results. A brief workshop on agile methodologies will achieve better results when teleworking than the leading video conferencing software.Therein lies the challenge that the paradigm will generate. Orient themselves to measurable objectives and with frequent retrospectives to measure the results, therefore working more efficiently. Telecommuting will be the consequence and not the end. 

Finally, the benefits of taking telework as a common practice are clear: greater reconciliation, capturing more talent for human capital, and savings derived from less need for physical space and less frequent transit. 
The financial crisis and the new profiles entering the labor market made companies look at this issue with interest. 
What until a few months ago was looming, today is seen with perfect clarity and is for two reasons.
-The capacity of contingency against future crises of whatever nature. 
- The impact on the sustainability plans of companies and public bodies.

These two points are key to start developing ambitious plans that make teleworking fully and real possible. The companies that do not do so are bound to suffer the rejection of all the agents in the development of their activity, from their investors to that of the workers and clients.

"Whether you like it or not, this virus is going to produce abrupt changes in our society, teleworking is one of the clearest. Adapting quickly is already a necessity for survival¨, Prieto makes us reflect..

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