Tips: adopt a “digital ecology” in remote work

Many prospective work predict that “face-to-face” work will no longer be the rule by default, even after the end of the CoviD crisis.

At the same time, so many studies highlight the psychosocial risks associated with all teleworking : beyond the sole question of isolation and the loss of social ties, a great fatigue is expressed by employees who feel overwhelmed by the profusion of digital tools and the multiplication of the solicitations which pass through them and otherwise express real difficulty taking time to breathe in days when visios and conf-calls are linked.

So, we will have to adopt a “digital ecology”. For ourselves, but also with others.

No, my agenda is not an open bar!

The shared agenda is nothing new … But when we saw each other in person, the reflex was rather to go and ask his / her colleague when she / he would have a niche to take stock of such and such. project. Now, many of us have taken the habit of “pasting” meetings into each other’s agendas: there is a gap between 11:45 and 12:15, I make an “invitation”, I click on the button allowing to associate a video and zou, that goes directly to register in the planning of the other. And here we are all with days where we leave a Zoom to join a Teams, that we close to move on to the next, then it’s a Webex etc.

Several solutions to avoid this “open bar agenda” effect: you can, to start, block “not available” time slots in each day, or even at several times of the day. You can also decide to systematically respond to the “invitations” that we send you by gently asking that we ask you the question before staking items in your agenda. A little assertiveness, while courtesy of course, it doesn’t hurt to install digital ecology!

Avoid face-to-face meetings

Among the “irritants & exhausting” of the partially face-to-face and partially remote work organization, there are those meetings where you never know who will be there around the physical table and who will join by video. A challenge to be animated because the codes of the virtual meeting and those of the immediate meeting are not the same: in one case, it is necessary to be very vigilant to the respect of the speaking turns, in the other the “tac-au”. -tac ”is easier; in one case, it is desirable to get straight to the point in order to get your message across effectively, in the other, digressions have more of their place; in one case, oral expression (and written expression, via the chat) takes precedence, in the other, there is more room for the non-verbal …

So, let’s choose our side: when we decide that a meeting is face-to-face for good reasons (such as the need for conviviality or the need to brainstorm without self-censoring or “remembering” their ideas), each one does the effort to organize oneself to be there; when a meeting is done by video, it is done by video … This does not prevent also taking time, at least at the beginning of the discussion, for informality: taking news, sharing impressions, ideas, favorites …

Informing is not just “depositing” content!

Many tools designed to make life and collaborative work easier for us are revealed for use by repositories for any content that each considers to have to be made available to others… At the risk of considering by default that what is in the drive , on Trello, in the Teams folder, on Slack, on Telegram, among other online sharing spaces is read, known, known, appropriate and ready to be implemented. Yes but no ! Because even if we activate notifications for all these tools, we are not necessarily available to read them immediately and as there is a chance that other files will be shared in the coming hours, we mainly accumulate mental burden and guilt on “misery!” Everything I have behind in the list of what to look at !!! I’m never going to get there ”.

A good organization of shared files, with a simple nomenclature allowing everyone to find the one they are looking for when they need it can help. But a little relational ecology too: am I quite sure, every time I submit a document (of which I am necessarily very proud since it was I who produced it J!) Somewhere, that this one is useful to others? Have I made the effort to present the content I share in an empathetic way, highlighting the usefulness it would have for those who will consult it? Do I make sure to inform by means other than the deposit on a collaborative tool those and those that I identified as less comfortable with the tool? A quick phone call, for example, to explain what it’s for and how to connect!

Set limits, aware of your own resources and those of others

“Come on, do you have a little time slot before 9 o’clock?” “So, between noon and two? Or after 6 p.m.? “,” It would be good if you joined the team of this transversal project, this period of change is also an opportunity to open up to other horizons “,” We should look at seriously on this stuff that’s been dragging on for months. I’ll let you take the lead! “Etc. In face-to-face, we quite naturally feel the workload, the level of fatigue, the availability of each one and it is enough to note that someone has their head in the handlebars and / or bends under the mass of work to not not to add to it… But in distance, one perceives much less the state of the resources of one and the others, including oneself. And we are tempted to always add a little more!

It’s time to relearn how to say “no”. No, I will not make an additional appointment in a day that already includes 3 visios and 4 calls, even if, in absolute terms, there would still be a small time slot available. Because in fact, even if I wanted to, my brain would not be able to register all the information received in less than 24 hours. Yes, I am willing to adapt but no, I will not be training three new different digital tools in less than 15 days. Because quite simply, my cognitive system, plastic though it is, is not able to create so many neurological paths that will allow me to move from understanding to practice. Yes, I want to be in solidarity with my / my colleague who needs me to relieve him of a mission, but no I cannot take this job off the cuff, the day before the time to deliver. As long as I do, since I take these good resolutions for myself, I also apply them in my relationships with others: I am overwhelmed and I need help for a mission, I anticipate so that my colleagues ready to accompany me can organize themselves. I need so and so to read a file or become familiar with a tool, I see with him / her when possible. In short, by helping to reduce the pressure, on myself as well as on others, I protect all of us from the exhaustion linked to over-demands.

Marie Donzel, for the EVE webmagazine

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