Until 2020, fewer than 2% of western employees were telecommuting or working from home full time. Since the Covid-19 lockdown, however, caused by the health crisis in March 2020, almost 25% of employees now work full-time from home. In most western countries, despite the easing of the lockdown, the uptake on returning to on-site work is slow. Teleworking appears to be the new normal, with the performance of remote workers now a key issue in maintaining business activity. But what special skills are needed to work effectively from home? What specifically needs to be done to support their interactions with other members of the organisation?
The study presented in this paper is unique in Europe. It analyses the career paths, performance and soft skills of a group of 317 French remote workers between 2009 and 2019, representative of the population of full-time remote workers before the Coronavirus crisis. The group is characterised first and foremost by its differences in terms of success both before and after the telecommuting period. It includes highly efficient employees, for whom being able to work from home was a reward, together with low-level employees
Differences in their capacity to apply five skills in particular explain the disparity in their career paths and their success prior to, during and after the teleworking period, skills that reflect the specific demands of working from home. Given their physical absence and their distance from informal discussions, remote workers may find themselves in danger of being pushed to the company sidelines. The five skills identified in this study inform a type of coordination that helps them to overcome the limitations of the remote working situation. It involves adopting a storytelling form of coordination that enables on-site workers to appreciate what their absent teleworking colleagues are doing.
Digital technology and its consequences on the world of work
In a rapidly changing world, particularly under the impetus of digital technologies, there is a strong need to renew the study of employment in general and employability in particular. In the end, little is known about changes in the relationship to work and career. There is also a lack of knowledge about how individuals’ expectations of companies in terms of employment and employability are formulated.
The Chair’s work is organised around 3 mains axes:
- Axis 1: Professional trajectories. The Chair analyses career differences by focusing on cause-and-effect relationships with individual behaviours.
- Axis 2: HR decision making and digital tools: analysis of decision-making processes of organisations and individuals in terms of careers, recruitment or employment.
- Focus 3: Employability.