Co-funded by the European Union

The new “flexible way of work” policy in Telenor

  • the possibility to choose where to work has a positive impact on motivation and productivity
  • the organisation of work has also improved

The leading communication group, Telenor, operating in the Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) and Asia (Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand) launched anew policy maximising work flexibility. Since June 2020, employees will have the possibility to choose how to allocate their working time between telework and office work. The details of this policy are defined in line with relevant regulations at the local level and in conjunction with the unions, but in reality the policy institutionalise a practice that was already operating during the Covid-19 pandemic.

To understand employees’ perception of this policy and, more broadly of remote working, Telenor conducted a survey in all countries where it operates. “The internal Telenor survey (with a 54% response rate) across Telenor’s nine markets revealed that majority of respondents are feeling motivated. They responded that they perceive the current working conditions as enabling them to be even more productive”.

However, they also reported on the challenges of having to deal with family obligations and home schooling, or of isolation from colleagues. In Thailand, “employees are experiencing home office for the first time, but 90% report no barriers on productivity. Eight in ten employees enjoy working from home, and 62% say they manage to deliver within working hours, proving that they are able to adapt to the new way of work”.

Moreover, the overall organisation of work has improved, since “we see now that we can actually reduce the number of layers in the organisation and adopt a more project-based way of working. So, you take away some of the traditional silos and hierarchical ways of working, for a much more cross-functional, project-based alternative", said Telenor CEO Brekke in an interview released to the World Economic Forum in July 2020.

Picture sourced from Telenor Website: Inside look at how Telenor employees are tackling a new way of work, May 2020

These data are in line with the key measures for the effective implementation of a teleworking policy mentioned by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) in its “Guidance on teleworking in the times of Covid-19”. Among the measures herein indicated, it is worth nothing the change of productivity mindset, meaning that productivity becomes mission driven and measured based on deliverable outcomes rather than on working time. Indeed, using collaborative online tools, such as shared calendars and public status (online/offline), can facilitate teamwork and boost productivity. Productivity goes hand in hand with well-being, hence regular breaks and healthy lifestyle should be promoted.