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One does not fit all

15.03.2022Comments are closed.

It has become evidently clear that remote work is here to stay. What is less clear is the multitude of challenges and opportunities it brings and how they translate to the work environment of companies in different sectors. A CPOEF E-TALK titled “Remote work and side hustling. Threat or opportunity?” focused on the topics of side hustling, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion at two prominent companies on the Slovenian market – Outfit 7 and AMZS.

“With the uptake of platforms such as Uber, Wolt, Glovo, Prolific, etc., anyone is provided with the opportunity to carry out work outside of their main employment,” opened prof. dr. Matej Černe of the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana. He defined side hustling as activities outside of one’s official job, which bring in additional income.

There are many positive aspects to side hustling, such as increased flexibility, additional income or new skills, which can also benefit the employer, but one should not overlook the negatives, since side hustling can cause work overload and stress and a decrease in work-life balance, and can lead to loss of performance and engagement at work.

Joining the discussion about how remote work and side hustling have impacted their companies were Katarina Šuštaršič and Petra Bizjak from the international high-tech company Outfit 7 and Lucija Sajevec and Anisa Faganelj from AMZS, the national automobile association.

All four agreed that communication and transparency are key. “It is very important to talk about an employee’s hobbies, passions and side activities to understand why someone is doing something and to see if we can maybe incorporate this into the daily job,” said Faganelj. Šuštaršič agreed and explained: “We pay a lot of attention to selecting employees who are passionate about what they do. We also make it very clear that we will provide a lot of challenges and opportunities for growth within the company,” to which Bizjak added, “Growth is important, but we do not separate career development and personal development. You can grow the most in the job itself, with the right challenges, opportunities and different activities.”

Remote work has definitely impacted both companies and the ways in which they engage with their employees. Bizjak pointed out that individual situations differed significantly among individual employees, where some felt lonely, parents felt overwhelmed with the tasks of homeschooling, some employees worked long hours and struggled to take breaks, etc. Šuštaršič added that this is where it was really noticeable that “the manager-employee relationship is very important in order to identify specific issues and to focus on finding solutions. We also found that flexibility of solutions is important, as one solution does not fit all.”

Sajevec further explained that AMZS had offered a variety of opportunities to minimise the negative effects of remote work, such as a virtual café, mentorships and coaching, but some individuals did not take up most of these opportunities. “One thing that was very noticeable was that those who had a good, trustful relationship with their team leaders prior to pandemic coped better with remote working. That is why, when we came back to the office, we tried to pay more attention to relationships, raise awareness, talk about challenges, etc.”

Sajevec mentioned that it is also very beneficial to pay attention to diversity, which is also an important part of Outfit 7 culture, which Šuštaršič described as one of the integral elements of support in the transformation period of the last two years.

“We accept diversity but not at the expense of our core values! There is no room to step outside our values,” said Bizjak. With many things changed or adjusted, values remain their core, but as Faganelj concluded, “employees have really changed during these two years, they have different priorities, are more aware of what the important things are, so communication remains key – it was key before the pandemic, during the pandemic and even more now, when we are trying to pay more attention to the challenges and opportunities and rebuild the trust with employees.”

Iva Drvarič, EF News

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