As a global company with offices in 12 countries and projects on five continents, remote work was already necessary for many employees at Smartmatic.
September 08, 2020
"The world has changed drastically and with it our vision of work and what is possible." With these words, Cristina Rondon, Compensation & Benefits Manager at Smartmatic, described the transformation that is sweeping across Smartmatic months after a Work-from-Home model replaced traditional office-based work for most Smartmatic employees worldwide.
The company is currently migrating to a hybrid model that will combine remote and office work. Smartmatic thus joins many other companies that are rethinking the future of office work in the wake of the pandemic.
“There were many factors in the decision to implement a hybrid model, chief among them are employee feedback and the drive for better efficiency. The feedback from our people made it clear that our talent values the many benefits of teleworking. They report greater satisfaction and productivity working from home and having the option of checking in at the office whenever necessary. Thus, there is less need to maintain large office spaces to accommodate all employees every day,” explained Cristina.
A series of surveys conducted in the last six months showed that Smartmatic employees are comfortable combining office work with telecommuting. More than 70% value the flexibility of working remotely and going to the office one or two days per week. Less that 15% of employees preferred the option of working only from the office, while 22% wanted to work 100% remotely.
As a global company with offices in 12 countries and projects on five continents, remote work was already necessary for many employees at Smartmatic. However, the COVID-19 crisis and the need for social distancing accelerated this transformation process for the majority of employees. Only the offices in Taiwan and Singapore have been able to continue working in-office as their primary process. For the rest of the company, teleworking was the model health experts recommended, and in some countries the only option available.
Beyond the obvious benefits of remote working, this modality does pose significant challenges. One of them is keeping employees engaged and preserving the company culture. “We are fortunate to have a flexible workforce, with employees engaged with the organization who know how to focus their energies on ensuring the highest possible productivity. The great challenge is to maintain this commitment and a sense of belonging, but under completely different dynamics,” Cristina noted.
Another challenge Cristina sees on the horizon is creating opportunities for authentic and spontaneous interactions. “It is crucial that, despite the distance, meaningful interactions still occur. Not only do they have great value for the company, but they also enrich our lives. We have to think creatively to create new habits and behaviors."
Yuval Noah Harari, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, when the pandemic was just starting, wrote, “Many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes. Decisions that in normal times could take years of deliberation are passed in a matter of hours.” Remote working, something that seemed to be part of a distant future, is now a reality and many are welcoming it.