There is no doubt about it: Teleworking is becoming one of the main subjects of debate for HR Departments all around the world. While some professionals tend to defend more flexible and open work habits, others feel unsure about the benefits of having an employee working from home and are reluctant to make changes in their offices. It is certainly a controversial issue, as was demonstrated last thursday at the English Breakfast organized by the language specialists Janice Haywood from Business Learning Solutions and Iñaki Nieto, from Kleinson for HR managers.
The debate got off to a strong start. A participant brought up one of the main concerns regarding teleworking: “Doesn’t the employee lose the reality of what’s going on in the company when working from home? Isn’t the contact with the people from the office essential for almost any employee?” The majority agreed, but there was an answer given for those questions: “There are actually many different types of teleworking. It doesn’t have to consist of one working from home in one’s pyjamas, you can still go to the meetings, spend some time at the office… it must be seen as a relaxation of some of the traditional work policies”.
Technology was of course highlighted as one of the essential elements that has allowed Teleworking to actually work: “Does it makes sense nowadays to stay in the office from 9 to 6 when you have the tools that allow you to stay connected anytime of the day from any part of the world?”, stated another professional.
Although convincing, this statement brought up the issue of cultural change: “Is Spain ready for this kind of change in the workplace? Will it be possible to break with the old ways that are based on the idea that ‘more hours mean more work?’”. No one could really answer to that, although most of the participants trusted the upcoming generations to start taking those first steps towards a different kind of dynamic.
The debate could have gone on for hours, since many other interesting and polemical topics were put on the table: the benefits for work/life balance, the concerns over the self-discipline of some workers, the actual cases in which teleworking has failed and the experience of some of the participants on implementing it in their company.
As usual in these “English Breakfasts”, which take place every two months, the debate provided an opportunity for HR professionals to exchange ideas and solutions in addition to practicing their English, so everyone had the chance to learn something new and to get a different perspective.
And regarding the subject, “Does teleworking really work?” the question was still left open. We hope to have many another chances to continue this debate as well as debating many other interesting and current issues.