La pandemia provocó ‘rupturas’ en los equipos de trabajo. Aquí te decimos cómo volver a unirlos – El Financiero

Después de meses de hacer malabares con las solicitudes de su empleo y tener estudiando en casa a dos menores de 10 años, una amiga que es socia de una gran agencia de medios de Londres ahora debe cerrar la brecha entre dos nuevas ‘tribus’ en trabajo: los que laboraron durante el encierro y los que recibieron el permiso subsidiado por el Gobierno.

Un miembro del equipo de mi amiga, con sueldo completo desde marzo, se enfureció por una medida de la compañía que requería el uso de una parte de las vacaciones anuales durante el permiso subsidiado.

Mi amiga se apegó a las reglas, me dijo, pero también defendió al 85 por ciento de los empleados que tuvieron que trabajar durante el cierre. Ahora existe una percepción interna de que las personas que no estaban en la oficina no entienden lo difícil que fue para quienes siguieron trabajando. Los que regresan e inmediatamente toman días de vacaciones este verano podrían fomentar el resentimiento, dice mi amiga, quien solicitó el anonimato por tratarse de problemas internos del trabajo.

A medida que millones de empleados sin permiso se reincorporan a sus equipos, muchos gerentes enfrentarán situaciones similares. Hacer frente a esas preocupaciones requerirá mensajes claros sobre cómo cambiaron las cosas mientras estas personas estaban fuera, así como lo que se esperaba de ellos a su regreso, dice Maire Kerrin, directora del Grupo de Psicología del Trabajo, una firma de investigación y consultoría del Reino Unido. “En las organizaciones donde esa comunicación no ha sucedido, las personas que han estado sin permiso volverán y recibirán un shock terrible”, dice ella.

Es fácil que las dos partes se vean con recelo, ya que ambas piensan que la otra no aprecia completamente los tiempos difíciles por los que han pasado. Los “sobrevivientes” pueden haber luchado bajo una presión cada vez mayor, mientras que muchos de los que están suspendidos ahora están aceptando un nuevo estado en su lugar de trabajo.

La realidad actual del ‘home office’ agrega otra capa de complejidad, dice Andy Yap, profesor de comportamiento organizacional en la escuela de negocios Insead. Con todos sentados en el sofá o en la mesa de la cocina, mucha comunicación ocurre en secreto, escondida en correos electrónicos y mensajes instantáneos. “No sabemos quién habla con quién, no podemos inferir el sistema político“, menciona Yap. “Estamos estresados, cansados y preocupados”.

Para los gerentes que enfrentan estas complicaciones, aquí hay algunas estrategias para reducir la tensión:

Ir más allá de los celos. Los últimos meses amenazaron las identidades de todos y nos obligaron a trabajar de formas que pocos esperaban, dice Helen Tupper, cofundadora de la agencia de desarrollo profesional Amazing If. “Hemos estado operando como individuos”, dice ella. “Los gerentes tienen una responsabilidad con el colectivo, y necesitan volver a unir eso”.

Distribuir la carga de trabajo. Si las empresas convocan a un grupo de crisis, repartir las tareas entre las ‘tribus’ puede garantizar que la toma de decisiones no esté demasiado centralizada, dice Yap.

Tener un plan de reintegración. Regresar al trabajo después del permiso subsidiado es como regresar de la licencia de maternidad o enfermedad, y el “contrato psicológico” entre el empleador y el empleado debe restablecerse, dice Kerrin. La evidencia muestra que aquellos que se mantienen en contacto con la oficina durante la licencia tienen un retorno menos perjudicial.

Ser claro acerca de los objetivos. Muchos líderes de equipo rompieron planes de negocios en la primavera. Los gerentes deben asegurarse de que el personal esté al tanto de los cambios, ya que todos tendrán que aceptar lo que podría ser una misión muy diferente para el resto del año.

Conectar y empatizar. Las empresas y los gerentes deben hacer que el trabajo remoto sea menos de trámite y más “experiencial”, dice Tupper, fomentando conexiones significativas. Esto podría incluir esfuerzos de desarrollo de equipo socialmente distanciados, como el club de podcast creado por el personal de una empresa de servicios financieros.

No dejar de lado el desarrollo personal. Si bien los presupuestos pueden ser ajustados y las cargas de trabajo pesadas, es un error ignorar el lado más reflexivo de las cosas. La capacitación y los programas para promover la resiliencia y la cohesión del equipo siguen siendo importantes, especialmente en un momento en que otros beneficios, como los aumentos salariales, probablemente no estarán disponibles.

Rebecca Earnshaw, directora ejecutiva de la organización benéfica educativa londinense Voice21, dice que si bien los últimos meses han sido dramáticos, lo que los gerentes tenían que hacer era “de alguna manera bastante sencillo”.

A medida que la economía se desarrolla lentamente desde su capullo y entramos en periodos de recuperación intercalados con posibles bloqueos e interrupciones de la segunda ola de COVID-19, la forma de actuar es menos clara. “Ahora es mucho más complejo y matizado”, dice Earnshaw, quien suspendió a la mayoría de sus 20 empleados cuando llegó la crisis y todavía tiene siete que no regresan al trabajo. “No hay una plantilla que seguir”.

Contextualizing the Office: How and Where Work Gets Done

Topics

Column

Our expert columnists offer opinion and analysis on important issues facing modern businesses and managers.

See All Articles in This Series

Work has definitely been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For those fortunate enough to be working remotely, speculation about returning to an office is accompanied by a range of mixed emotions. For some, staying at home has fueled a strong desire for a return to work life where in-person social connections can be restored. Others are thrilled with the time and money they have saved by eliminating long commutes to centralized offices.

Another subgroup of people stands undecided, acknowledging both the pros and cons of their current work situations. Many express loneliness and miss the physicality of being among colleagues; they miss their old routines and rituals, the structured predictability of their workdays, and the demarcation of work life from domestic life. Now, it seems like work life and domestic life are all rolled into one, and for many, it’s a very messy time. Yet, many of these same people also find themselves embracing the flexibility and fluidity afforded by not going into the office every day. They relish the opportunity to spend more time with family while also finding time to focus on their own wellness. Like so many social relationships, the prospect of returning to the office is complicated.

Let’s also acknowledge that many people do not have the option to work from home because the very nature of their work requires their physical presence. The people who educate our children and tend to our elderly by and large do so in person. Those who deliver our packages and pick up our trash are, quite literally, always onsite. Most workers in transportation and logistics, manufacturing and event planning, and hospitality and food service, among many others, are likely reflecting far more on when they will be able to go back to work and not where that work will happen.

Current conversations about what a return to work will look like both in the coming months and after the COVID-19 crisis focus primarily on those workers who are or aren’t required to be in a centralized place of work — and what “there” might look like. Geographical and industry differences present unique challenges to what elements these workspaces — whether field, warehouse, office park, or terminal — will comprise.

The workplace that I am most familiar with is the corporate office: Decidedly separate from home, the office is purpose-built as a place to get work done. I’m of the mind that to better understand the current moment, we need to trace how we got here in the first place. Although we can’t predict the future, we can certainly imagine possible futures from a more informed present.

Of course, humans have been “going to work” for as long as they have been around. We needed food and shelter for communal survival, so we hunted and gathered to secure these necessities. We innovated systems of exchanging labor — some manual, some in the realm of what we’d eventually call “knowledge work” — and goods based on trade and barter. Some forms of labor were manual, while others were not.

As modern work practices evolved, those in clerical or administrative roles found their way into what we now broadly refer to as “the office,” while others worked manually on farms and in factories. I’ve worked in both types of settings and, along the way, have acquired a fair degree of local knowledge about “how work gets done here.” Regardless of location, all places of and for work are symbolically dense, historical artifacts formed in the lived interplay of people, practices, and power over time.

Which brings me back to the office. What are some of the systems of belief, histories of technology, and culturally specific practices that have shaped what many of us think of as the office? How might we reimagine both the office and how work gets done based on what we can glean from the past?

A Social History of the Modern Office

A place dedicated to the productivity of those undertaking mental work and handling information — Peter Drucker’s so-called knowledge worker — the office has a relatively short yet dynamic social history. As a place separate from domestic life, the office has been the subject of books, such as Gideon Haigh’s The Office and Nikil Saval’s Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace, as well as numerous television shows and films.

The medieval monk in a dimly lit chamber, poised with pen and parchment, head down at a small desk, intensely focused on the manuscript before him, is an early example of the kind of work — solitary and dedicated to deep concentration — popularly associated with working in the office.

Across Europe, beginning in the 18th century, wealthy merchants had home offices where they could display their status and power and entertain prospects and partners, while civil servants, lawyers, clerical workers, and bookkeepers increasingly began working in shared offices. As a consequence of abundant paperwork created in the course of business dealings across the empire, the East India Trading Company deemed it necessary to centralize all administrative functions. In 1729, East India House was constructed; it was an office building purpose-built to ensure the efficiency and productivity of a large and expanding workforce.

On a similar theme, in 1854, Stafford Northcote, later chancellor of the Exchequer, and Sir Charles Trevelyan, assistant secretary to the British Treasury, wrote the following regarding the optimal administration of civil servants:

For the intellectual work, separate rooms are necessary so that a person who works with his head may not be interrupted; but for the more mechanical work, the working in concert of a number of clerks in the same room under proper superintendence, is the proper mode of meeting it.

Steam-powered machinery contributed to the production of cheap paper made from wood pulp in the 19th century, which in turn made it more profitable to hire additional white-collar office workers. This may explain, in part, the somewhat derogatory description of white-collar workers, and especially civil servants, as “paper pushers.”

Photograph of office interior

Image courtesy of the Early Office Museum

Mass production of office equipment such as desks, chairs, typewriters, and adding machines, coupled with enthusiasm for Frederick Winslow Taylor’s book The Principles of Scientific Management on how to extract the maximum productivity from workers, found expression in offices engineered to mechanize human workers (as human labor) at scale while affording managers a panoptic view of the shop floor.

Along with developments in materials science, organizational management, technology, and public policy came new ways to imagine what an office might be, how to best manage employees for maximum productivity, and the very definition of employee itself. How these emergent forms came to reflect ideas about personal identity, interpersonal relationships, and where and how work gets done provide a vantage point from which to reflect on and contextualize the post-pandemic office.

Fitness for All: Are you worth it? | Simone Robinson | [email protected]

Fitness for All: Are you worth it? | Simone Robinson | TEDxYouth@Frisco

This talk is a candid account of the journey we often all take to define whether we’re worth the life, time, and care we deserve. From the lens of a plus-size teen learning her place in this world, this talk is jam-packed with stories, lessons, and moments of growth that led to the all-important question, “Am I worth the fight?”
Simone is an 18-year-old originally from Kansas City, MO but is now thriving in the great state of Texas! Dance has been a part of her journey ever since she can remember and with 16 years under her belt, she will continue her dance career at Dallas Baptist University as a member of the DBU Patreittes. With a degree in early childhood education on the horizon, Simone plans to further her knowledge and passion for children as she enters into the education field working as a school counselor. At 17, Simone founded her social media platform “Fit For More” as an outlet for plus size teens and teens in general to get information about staying healthy as well as motivational moments to keep them going on their journey of life. Simone also devotes a large part of her time to her church community serving her peers as well as the youth ministry and later plans to work in ministry. She leads a legacy of passion for what you do, kindness for all you meet, and love for the ultimate Savior. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Play As A Right For All Children: From K Through 16 | Gina Miele & Debbie Piescor | TEDx[email protected]

Play As A Right For All Children: From K Through 16 | Gina Miele & Debbie Piescor | TEDxYouth@LES

Uninterrupted time for free play is essential to developing critical thinkers, problem solvers, and intellectually flexible learners. Journey along with educators Gina Miele and Debbie Piescor as they explore the concept of rebuilding the bridge of critical thinking and problem solving from nursery age to university level.

Filmed on May 30, 2019. Dr. Gina M. Miele, Assistant Professor of Italian and former Director of the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University, received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 2003. She has published in Italica, Marvels and Tales, Fabula, Marvelous Transformations: An Anthology of Tales and Contemporary Critical Perspectives, the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, Teaching Fairy Tales, the Italian American Review, Altreitalie, and The Paterson Literary Review. She co-authored the Activities Manual of the textbook Parliamo Italiano! In 2014 and 2015, she presented at the NAEYC national conference on the principles of Reggio Emilia and play based learning. In 2016, Gina joined a panel with Debbie Piescor, Kathy Berkowitz and Lella Gandini at Montclair State University on the Reggio Emilia Approach: US Responses to an Italian Educational Philosophy. She is the mother of three children.

Debbie Piescor is a master teacher in a kindergarten/first grade combined classroom at a private NAEYC accredited, Reggio Emilia inspired school enrolling children from ages 3 to 7, nursery through first grade. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in both early elementary education as well as psychology from Caldwell University in New Jersey and is a member of Kappa Delta Epsilon, an honors fraternity for professional educators. Debbie has a published article in the March 2017 edition of Young Child entitled, Play as the Foundation for all Learning Domains Across Multiple Age Groups. She has attended NAEYC National Conventions in Washington D.C. and NYC, and presented several times in Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. She has presented for the Association for Constructivist Teaching in Charleston, South Carolina, Kean University in New Jersey, and Columbia, North Carolina. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Success is an over-rated syndrome | Kirat Damani | TEDxIIMSirmaur

Success is an over-rated syndrome | Kirat Damani | TEDxIIMSirmaur

Mr. Kirat Damani told the story of his journey of being a cricketer, a solicitor, recovering from an autoimmune disease, to what he is now. He professed that relating happiness to success is irrelevant and that we derive joy and peace in perpetuity through what we do. Mr. Kirat Damani is the Managing Partner of the law firm A.C.Damani & Advocates. A Corporate and Property lawyer by profession, he is also a former national cricketer who captained the Gujarat Ranji Trophy Team and represented English County Leagues. He believes that right attitude and perspective prevail over skill, and that significance of success is unduly hyped while failure is merely a state of mind. Pursuing sports psychology in order to assist sportsmen and women to have the right mindset, he founded HLRU, a non profit organisation that supports talented young sportspeople from financially non privileged backgrounds. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx