The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the world of work for employers and employees alike on an unprecedented scale. Even as government measures shift and some companies return to working in the office, the months of remote work have left their mark. Some companies have even decided to continue telework partially or fully. Are you thinking about it too? If you are, here are some keys to supporting your employees better.

Setting the terms on working remotely

After (for the most part of us) being forced to work remotely and the ensuing disorder, companies can now let employees decide if they want to work remotely some or all of the time. The challenge for employers is transitioning from forced telework to organised telework. In order to optimally support employees during this, companies need to engage them in the discussion, as well as including any unions and employee organisations, in order to reach a consensus regarding the conditions of remote work.


The first thing to do when heading back is identify the reasons and motivations behind why some would choose to work remotely. Even if telework offers indisputable advantages for well-being, the fact remains that the choice must continue to contribute to the development of the company and not harm its performance. On one hand, it will be necessary to factor in the concerns and doubts felt by certain workers and to plan for those challenges. The point of surveying employees is to be as fair and productive as possible, since remote work has yet to become a global right or total obligation.

For the next phase, deciding on the rhythm for teleworking days should be a collective discussion and decision between teams and managers. They will all need to identify the professional imperatives that require their physical presence at the company and establish a list of priorities. Managers can collect expectations and objections in order to anticipate both the risks posed to performance objectives and well-being at work. These elements will make it possible to define the regularity with which employees must be present and the rotation of employees working from home.

Finally, the terms of remote work must be recorded in an accessible document which will serve as a reference in the event of disagreements.

Learning from being forced to work remotely

Responsible management, better adapted to remote work, has been a hot topic this year. This is the kind of management that ensures fluid communication and promotes well-being at work. As we have observed during the pandemic, striking a balance in this new way of working is done gradually and requires greater communication efforts than before. As we continue to employee telework, even part-time, it will require managers who have yet to adopt this style to train for it and establish an environment where open communication is welcome and encouraged. True, changing the ways that we work, which are so steeped in classic models, is not easy; it requires much internal consulting and a real team effort to devise a model for setting up remote work that everyone can be confident in.

According to a study by CAIRN, managers who have adopted this style of management with their teams, granting them more autonomy, are those whose teams have performed the best during the coronavirus crisis. Establishing results-based management will help eliminate sources of friction such as excessive reporting that goes against well-being at work. For example, meetings that are too frequent can be scaled down according to their importance and can be done by videoconference. To support this organisational and cultural transition, HR will need to consult managers and define more fluid rules and processes when it comes to moving from teleworking to face-to-face and vice versa.

Balancing performance and well-being at work challenges management to evolve and learn how to adapt to new issues that are yet to arise. Scenario planning can help companies prepare teams for remote work. And finally, in a top-down fashion, companies must remain consistent in how they treat these newly established regulations.

Focus on keeping up-to-date

Once supervision over making remote work a sustainable project has been established, companies must ensure that employees have the necessary tools to carry out their missions. Employers should also ensure that employees working from home have the same rights as in person. That includes all parts of the employee experience, from equipment to perks like gym membership or lunch provisions.

There are all kinds of collaborative work tools that allow teams to stay connected and exchange with maximal fluidity. Their strengths: simplified communication, more flexible organisation of tasks in real time. The adoption of tools adapted to hybrid working methods will help teams overcome the obstacles often encountered during the past year.

To ensure the proper deployment and sustainability of partial or full-time remote work, it is important for leaders, HR leaders and managers to regularly review the place occupied by remote work in the organisation of missions. Especially since certain times of the year may be more busy, it is necessary to schedule in these regular check-ins. If teams or individuals encounter any eventual problems, negotiations must be based on the the previously defined collective agreement on remote work. Better support for teams working remotely requires a delicate balance between well-being at work and performance objectives. If any company wishes to show their commitment to these profound changes, they must remain attentive to their employees who have been on the front lines of these evolutions during the pandemic.