Written by 21:35 English

The office of the future

Remote work forced companies to reorganize themselves in order to maintain operational continuity. But, in what areas have they been most affected by the implementation of teleworking? An investigation carried out by academics from the School of Administration and Business of the Universidad de Concepción, in Ñuble, has revealed  the positive and negative impacts of this modality that, apparently, is here to stay.

Por Paola Zerega / paolazerega@udec.cl / Fotografías: Gentileza EAN

At this point, after more than a year of the pandemic, it is almost a cliché to say that Covid-19 hastened pre-existing trends, especially in digital transformations such as electronic commerce, videoconferences and digital banking. In fact, the study “Cybersecurity: Risks, progress and the way forward in Latin America and the Caribbean”, carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2020, indicates that Latin America advanced in three months the levels of digital transformation that were projected for three more years. 

In this context, the pandemic and teleworking are closely related since, if it were not for the first, the latter would have not been adopted so abruptly. In this case, the acceleration process was also evident, forcing companies to reorganize themselves and implement activities other than the usual ones to maintain operational continuity, in line with the reality of the different industrial sectors.

But in what areas or activities is it where management has been most affected in relation to the implementation of teleworking?

In a study, academics Macarena Dávila, Marcelo Oliva and Claudia Troncoso, from the School of Administration and Business of the Chillan Campus of the Universidad de Concepción, evaluated the impact that the implementation of teleworking has had on the various administration functions , establishing that the supervision of those who carry out administrative tasks (26.53%), the supervision of the work of those who deal with the commercialization of the product or service (25%), the efficiency or productivity of the workers (22.92%) and management in administrative processes and procedures (22.45%), are the variables most negatively affected by the need to carry out work remotely.

“On the other hand, we also observed positively affected areas, such as the easiness of holding meetings, communications within the company and the autonomy of employees,” explained Claudia Troncoso. 


On her part, the researcher Macarena Dávila reports that the research also revealed the problems that companies have in relation to the implementation of remote work. In this sense, the results pointed to worker connectivity (43.59%), providing sufficient equipment and software (25.64%) and knowing how to manage, leading and supervising under this modality (12.82%).

“The perception of managers is that teleworking runs well with people with high individual responsibility. Therefore, those who have leadership positions have seen their human capital management capabilities challenged. Leadership and supervision in times of uncertainty or crisis require more than technical and managerial skills. Knowing how to contain workers, motivate them in a complex environment, coordinate teams, maintain trust, commitment, and above all the emotional well-being of those who are telecommuting, is key”, commented the researcher.

Fortunately, several opportunities or positive aspects detected by the companies surveyed also came to light, among which the following stand out: evaluating other forms of organization and work (25.53%), advancing in the use of digital technology (21.28%) and visualizing future opportunities migrating to digital (14.89%).


For the academic Marcelo Oliva, there is evidence that companies have accelerated change processes, mainly digital transformation, training their leadership positions in management skills, and training work teams to deal with the volatile and uncertain environment.

“The question if teleworking is here to stay is often repeated and the answer is yes, because it has been shown that productivity and efficiency are not affected, that costs decrease and the accident rate has dropped ostensibly. What should be planned in a better way is conciliation with personal life, avoiding hyperconnection and the tendency to increase the agenda of meetings”, he points out.

Thus, in the experts opinion, the most (sensible) reasonable thing to do  from now on is to obtain the best of both worlds and implement a mixed modality in order to balance the benefits of remote work and the advantages of feeling part of the culture, of the team and the interactions that face-to-face work gives.

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Last modified: 2 de junio de 2023