The Functionalist Principles of Telework
Telework is defined as the organizational process where work is done at one workspace, while the value is generated in another. That is why both in-house and home-office business processes might be organized as telework. All organizations develop telework in some way. Between 50% and 90% of the work of a CEO, depending on the type of business, is telework.
The explosion of IT, communications, Internet, unicist logic and conceptual engineering established a new technological framework for telework that is now catalyzed by the needs of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the coronavirus crisis.
We consider that this opens the possibility of structuring telework in a way that allows managing the coronavirus crisis but also installs a counter-cycle that helps introducing the organizational adaptability fostered by the technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Companies Culture in Telework Processes
The development of telework requires strengthening the culture of an organization. Most people see the values of a culture in the materialistic aspects of the environment. To avoid that telework weakens the culture of an organization it is necessary to introduce a superior ethics to integrate people. If not, telework will end in an outsourcing process based on individual workers.
The following example of bestseller building is a way to sustain the culture of a publishing firm that works in a telework environment.
The use of tools that ensure that participants share the concept of an organization ensures the achievement of results and reinforces its culture. At a managerial level, the introduction of binary actions provides a superior level of functionality in business processes. It allows building a culture where people share the concepts of what is being done which drives towards full commitment.
Introduction to Telework
There are basically two different subjective approaches to telework:
- Considering it as an outsourcing problem
- Considering it as an organizational problem
As it can be observed, there are organizations that consider that the telework is a solution to sustain the productivity and quality of work processes when an individual doesn’t work in an entropy inhibiting context that fosters effectiveness.
These organizations tend to consider telework as an outsourced process where new rules need to be established to manage this new type of outsourcing. Entrepreneurial rules apply to this type of solutions.
There are organizations that consider that telework is a transition stage that needs to be managed to return to the previous stage of management.
We consider that the number of hours executives have been spending in personal meetings, an average of more than 20 hours a week, will be part of the past and will be diminished by more than 50%.
The substitution of personal meetings by virtual meetings diminishes significantly the hours to be dedicated while it increases significantly the functionality of the meetings.
Based on our experience, virtual meetings reduce the necessary time to solve a problem by nearby 75% because they foster the need for developing concrete functional discussions. Intrapreneurial rules apply to these types of solutions.
The Concept of Intrapreneurial Telework
Home-office telework is just a different context for work, which requires having a system that is functional based on the context of home-office.
The intrapreneurial organizational model requires having organizational processes defined by roles. This model includes the use of business objects that ensure the quality of the processes while they increase their productivity.
It requires working with systems to manage the accountability, reliability and transparency of the roles of the people involved and these work processes.
Telework requires systems that allow the participants to monitor their role and experience the satisfaction for the achievement of objectives.
The system includes three aspects:
- The accountability module ensures the achievement of results.
- The reliability module ensures the consistency of actions.
- The transparency module ensures self-control, control and the credits for the objectives that are achieved.
Sharing Concepts: The Wide Context of Telework
The wide context of telework requires that the participants in the process need to share the concept of the business and its functions in order to be aware to the functional and dysfunctional consequences of their work. Sharing concepts is the “gravitational force” that sustains intrapreneurial telework.
This sharing of the concept of the business functions needs to be interpreted based on the values included in the vision and mission of the company. The vision, mission and ethics of companies became a meaningful information for the members of the organization who work home-office. This knowledge makes the difference between outsourcing and the intrapreneurial organization.
Reflection driven Teamwork: The Restricted Context of Telework
The sense of solitude, the lack of stimuli and the lack of recognition are aspects that become easily installed in home-office and drive towards individualism and lowering the level of effectiveness. If this is not managed, the process ends working as an outsourced service.
This solution requires a different level of participation than the one that is used in face-to-face organizations. It requires fostering a deeper commitment with the significance of the work that is being developed. Reflection driven teamwork is the catalyst of telework that integrates people in the solution of the problems that need to be managed.
This is done by reflection driven teamwork, which is exclusively focused on solving the problems that appear in the processes using a pilot test driven reflection process (unicist reflection), where the solutions are “owned” by all the participants of the process and not by the boss.
This empowers the feeling of belonging and the enrichment of the processes. It allows participants to materialize the sharing of the concept of what is being done.
The Roles that Sustain Telework
There are three roles that sustain telework:
- Performance Management
- Relationship Management
The three roles are sustained by the same wide and restricted context of telework. When home-office ends, a new way of “in-house teleworking” will be established using and expanding the possibilities opened by the technological framework.
They are part of the counter-cycle that simplifies management, empowers adaptiveness, growth and profitability and reduces the time invested in the meetings of the executives.
Performance Management of Telework
The performance management system establishes the functions, processes and tasks of a role. In the case of telework, it is a core aspect that is needed to monitor the efficacy of people and the efficiency of the system. Performance management defines the appropriate level of programming of the different work processes to ensure the possibility of integrating the efficacy of people with the efficiency of the system.
The main problem the performance management system solves is that it provides the input for self-control in home-office processes, while it ensures the functionality of the entire system.
The change to be introduced is the development of differentiated programming levels according to the level of efficacy and the level of efficiency required by each role. The more accurate the design of the roles, the higher their level of productivity and quality.
Leadership in Telework
Leadership becomes a core aspect in telework processes. There is a structural change in leadership that needs to be installed in telework, considering that people need to be recognized for their work and as individuals.
The lack of personal contact between the bosses and their collaborators requires introducing several changes to ensure the maintenance of working groups and the feeling of belonging with an organization:
- Coaching: The level of functional authority needs to be ensured and the role of coaching needs to be integrated as part of the activity of the leaders.
- Participation: The level of participation needs to be enhanced through the development of reflection driven teamwork that ensures a deeper level of participation due to the reduction of personal face to face relationships.
- Leadership objects: The use of leadership objects is necessary to sustain the participants in their activities, minimizing the personal exertion of power. The exertion of power needs to be part of the system.
The change is introduced by virtual activities to clarify the functionality of the work processes. The new stage is driven by a superior level of knowledge of the objectives and a superior level of recognition for results.
Relationship Management in Telework
Virtual communication introduces a structural change in business relationships. It needs to empower functional relationships above personal relationships. This requires multiple different actions:
- Complementation: the complementation between functions and roles needs to be enhanced in order to generate superior results and the sharing of the credits among the participants of the process. It requires increasing the level of functional relationships within a transparent environment.
- Functional Relationships: The functionality of the role of a person provides the credibility and trust in a virtual environment. It requires that the relationships need to be based on functional demands, which make people accept other visions and establish synergistic relationships.
- Personal Relationships: The lack of face-to-face communication diminishes the power of personal relationships, which needs to be compensated by personal reliability. It requires a new type of communication-based transparency.
A new stage of business relationships needs to be established, knowing that in telework processes the value of a person is naturally driven by the value s/he adds. Accountability, reliability and transparency are implicit elements that drive this new stage.
The unicist approach to telework allows working together with the members of an organization to empower their system to transform the crisis of the coronavirus into a counter-cycle of the next stage in management.
This new approach can only exist if the members of an organization have this concept of telework in their minds. That is why the implementation of this solution requires that one or several members of the organization learn to manage the unicist evolutionary approach.
As part of the learning process, they participate in the installation of the systems they have available and their adjustment until they match the needs of telework and establish a counter-cycle that drives towards the new stage of management triggered by the available technologies.