- Benoit Salinmanager of the engineering and architecture offices CER (Consulting study realization) and CEA (Consulting study and architecture)
- Emilie Alaouithe co-founding coach of Upfeel, an e-learning platform that seeks to recreate the link between teams wherever they are
- Jean-Francois FaureCEO of AuCoffre.com, a platform for buying and selling precious metals
- Lydie Recorbetproject manager at Orse (Observatory of corporate social responsibility
- Emilie Jamgotchianjournalist in the “food” section of the Lot-et-Garonne press agency Com’presse (Astaffort)
Mass had to be said. The April 2022 study “The future of work seen by HRDs” by the Boston consulting group in association with ANDRH should have laid down the canons of the law: “Hybrid work is becoming the norm and would stabilize around 2 days per week,” the consultancy said.
Contacted, these consultants added that they had not taken into consideration employers who did not offer teleworking. According to the BCG, 26% of employers offer 1 day of “home office”, 46% distill 2 days, 23% 3 days, 4% 4 days and 1% are in “all telework” (in ” full-remote in good English).
But what about employers who do not offer telework? Are they archaic, conservative, old fossils that will not survive the post-pandemic?
Telecommuting affects productivity and morale
The opposition, however, can come from the most advanced boxes on the planet. Thereby Google and Apple broke the mood among aficionados of teleworking at will. Since April 4, Google employees have had to return to the office in a hybrid format – 3 days in person and 2 days remotely. Same change of mood at Apple: Tm Cook has set the date for April 11 for a return to the premises at least 1 day a week, then 2 days from May 3 and 3 days on May 23.
In an article published on its website, the magazine Fortune – the American liberal bible – highlighted a testimony of Laszlo Bock, former Google HRDwho judges that this organization “would not last and that after 3 to 5 years of experience in hybrid, Google and the others would return to all face-to-face”.
This is what Mr. Bock calls the ” Boil the frog method “. This is the propensity that frogs would have to escape from a pot of boiling water when they would agree to stay in water that would be boiled slowly… According to Laszlo Bock, the decision of these companies is a way to “slowly boil employees” before bringing them back to the office. He believes that this turnaround will be terrible for morale and productivity.
Telecommuting corrodes the value of work
“For two years, while things were going really well before, the links between our employees have broken down and this has an impact on the fluidity of our work and on our productivity”. The leader speaking does not want to be quoted.
This is not the case for Benoît Salin, manager of the engineering and architecture firms CER (consulting study realization) and CEA (consulting study and architecture) who employ 8 employees. But his speech is similar. Teleworking alters cohesion, motivation and the value of work. It’s a story he likes to tell.
The other day, I had to meet four different clients. Three failed me! This had never happened to me before the generalization of post-pandemic teleworking.
Benoît Salin, CER and CEA manager. Photo © Samuel Dhote
According to Benoît Salin, the organization including telework generates “A loss of cohesion and, ultimately, a loss of motivation. » Including with clients since appointments are skipping more often than before. “It is to preserve the quality of work that we refuse telework. Everyone is, with us, face-to-face except for an architect, he continues. We didn’t impose anything. But it seems impossible to me to work together remotely. We are a VSE where the presence of each employee is essential”.
Telecommuting dissolves the collective spirit
Telework can result in a shift from individual work to individualism. This is expressed by Emilie Alaoui, the co-founding coach of Upfeel, an e-learning platform whose goal is to “recreate links in remote or face-to-face teams”:
In telework, we go from videoconference to videoconference. There are no more informal moments where we can discuss, exchange, share. This is detrimental to the development of a collective state of mind and therefore to better living together.
Emilie Alaoui, coach and co-founder of Upfeel
Same observation at AuCoffre.com, a platform for the purchase and sale of precious metals created in 2009, which employs 40 employees and plans to recruit 15 people in 2022. Its CEO, Jean-François Faure, has tested full remote (total telework) with his teams. All in all, he does not intend to continue the experiment:
On the profit side, we have seen an increase in the productivity of our employees and the possibility of better managing professional and personal life. Despite everything, the “full remote” seems dysfunctional to me. Some employees no longer want to leave their homes and we suffer a loss of relational ties which inexorably leads to a lowering of the performance of a company. The home office in excess causes the loss of group dynamics, the sense of joint projects. We want to build projects together, to be proud of shared values. With telework, all of this eventually unravels and then disappears. This is why, with us, the rule must remain face-to-face work with teleworking options implemented in a harmonious, secure and sustainable way.
Jean-François Faure, CEO of AuCoffre.comYou might be interested in:
Telework disrupts a certain “French management”
This is what advances Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, president of Paprec, a French leader in recycling and waste collection which employs 12,500 people. Interviewed in Le Figaro, he specifies that “teleworking is not our strong point. At Paprec, we are happy to come to the office, because we get along well with our colleagues”. And to atomize in passing its corollary, the flex office, in other words the flexible office: “Thee flex office will not work. Who wants to come to an office where they don’t even have a little space of their own for their children’s photos? »
Teleworking causes a loss of bearings for certain French-style managers who need to have their troop under their eyes… A “visual” management which, in teleworking, causes even more mistrust.
These managers are not always aware that they are hampering the autonomy of employees and put forward altruistic arguments: they say they have difficulty in spotting the weak signals signaling a problem felt by the employee.
“This culture of presenteeism is put forward by the unions with whom we have exchanged. It explains the obstacles to telework according to them, ”explains Lydie Recorbet, project manager at Orse (Observatory for Corporate Social Responsibility). This association of 100 members promotes and informs via books on CSR practices in France. It has just published the study “Benchmark on teleworking agreements” published in March 2022.
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Telework slows down the integration of new hires
A final argument from the “anti”? It complicates the integration of “newcomers”. Admittedly, confinement has proven that it is quite possible to welcome a new employee 100% remotely and to have him follow a remote integration course.
But when you like working in a company for human contact, flesh and blood colleagues are not an option. This is the cry from the heart of Emilie Jamgotchian, 25, journalist in the “food” department at the Lot-et-Garonne press agency Com’presse. She has just left Paris to take her new job in Astaffort. And for her, there is no question of teleworking:
I traveled 600 kilometers to take this position. It’s not for home office. Being face-to-face allows me to get to know my colleagues, to exchange with them, to integrate myself, to train myself. None of this would work if I was telecommuting. I don’t have a dedicated space at home either, and I don’t want to be alone in my apartment. Human contact is essential for me.
Emilie Jamgotchian, journalist for the “food” division at Com’presse
Teleworking remains a minority in France
Would the silent majority of employers be against telework? This is what the Apec study, “Telework of executives: companies and managers in search of new balances”, suggests. We measure a France of employers with an interest in “moderate” teleworking: “41% of companies overall say they are in favor of teleworking for their executives, announces Apec. And ETIs / large companies are much more open to it (72%) than SMEs (44%) or VSEs (34%)”.
Conclusion: for a large number of irreducible leaders (Gauls), teleworking is a slow poison to fight.