After a critical spring marked by containment, the job market is gradually recovering. The use of telework remains massive, a new working method in the form of a challenge for those who join a business today. Testimonials.
What is it like to start in a business without setting foot in the business? To discover his colleagues through the window of a Zoom tab? Starting a new job is always a challenge. In a context of coronavirus crisis and encouraged teleworking, it is even more so. Telecommuting is exploding and becoming the norm for many companies. At the end of May, a quarter of private sector employees were still using it according to Dares, the statistical service of the Ministry of Labor. For newcomers, it’s not easy to get started without seeing your colleagues or customers in the flesh. Four newly hired employees recount their beginnings from a distance.
Damien, 41: “Telework is an accelerated learning phase”
In full containment, Damien left a large group in the energy sector to take charge of the communication of a smaller company in the digital sector.
Since the start of his contract, he only went twice to the offices of his employer. The first was to recover a computer in late April. That day, the sanitary protocol in the company was very strict, no time to drag on in the premises, empty anyway, or with the person assigned to give him the equipment. “It still allowed me to see a human face before I started, a good thing“, tempers Damien. The second was July 8, his first day of face-to-face work.”I was able to discover one of the conditions for happy and successful work: the coffee machine!“, s’amuse Damien. “It was there that I discovered the humans behind the colleagues. I was eager to take the temperature of the company, to know the characters and the moods of those I saw behind my screen“, he explains.
When he signed his contract in February, the framework was good far from imagining that teleworking would become his daily life. A very occasional user of this mode of operation before the crisis, he nevertheless quickly adapted to it: “There was already a culture of teleworking and digital tools in this company, which is quite young, so it had everything in place to facilitate contacts and welcome me. Beyond that, I started when we had been confined for a month already, the structure was broken“he explains. Despite this, there is still”a part of improvisation“, he nuances.
Damien believes in any case to be more productive thus, in teleworking: “Oddly, it’s been two months since I started and I feel like it’s been six. I find that by teleworking, we concentrate much faster on the essentials, it is a truly accelerated learning phase.“
Despite this, Damien regrets not having had the time to “peacefully savor onboarding, these first weeks that we devote to understanding, at a rested head, the company, the sector, taking stock of the files and the inventory. I was immersed in the bath right away!“
Julie, 25: “I understand distance communication”
Since the end of her work-study contract in a bank in September 2019, Julie Naulin has struggled to find a job. After a succession of CVs, unsuccessful interviews and a plan to leave to try his luck in Berlin abandoned because of confinement, the world of work finally smiled on him in June.
She didn’t expect to pick up his first permanent contract now, at the dawn of a major economic crisis, and yet. “I was contacted at the start of the confinement by a consulting firm but because of the Covid, the managers told me that they could not recruit me right away. We stayed in regular contact and then miraculously, a mission fell, and I was hired. I am relieved to have managed to do well, especially now“, she explains.
Everything was done in less than a week: “I spent all of my interviews remotely, in three days, and signed my contract immediately. Even if we were already confused, the offices were not yet open at this time and at present video remains the rule in the company“, specifies the young woman. A rule which is likely to remain valid in the medium term for Julie.
From the start of his mission in July until September “at least“, the consultant will be 100% teleworking. If a coworking space – which cannot accommodate all the employees at the same time – is available to her at her employer, there is no question of going to with its customers; moreover she will probably never actually meet his clients. Julie will officiate especially from her little two-room apartment in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. She had first improvised a desk on the edge of her fireplace before changing her mind and installing a small table and a large chair in her room, a few inches from her bed. “We do with the means at hand.“
For the young working person, teleworking has as many positive as negative aspects: “After eight months without professional activity, it’s a smooth recovery with days that I will organize myself, freed from the stress of transport. But I’m a little apprehensive; I tell myself that communication may be less fluid. My job is a lot of collective intelligence, so working from a distance is unusual and complicated.”
Flavie, 24 years old: “In Belgium, we have less of a face-to-face culture”
She was to start her one-year VIE in Brussels – international volunteering in companies, a device for the employment of young French people abroad – in April, then in May, and it is finally in June that Flavie Jeuffroy Palluel has took up his position in an engineering consulting company. “Business France, the organization that manages VIEs, did not want us to take the risk of starting in the middle of the epidemic“, specifies Flavie, who finds the decision justified … But not easy financially; two months of staggered wages, It’s not nothing. All the more so when you have just left business school.
If she had already done an internship in this same company in 2018, in Aix-en-Provence at the time, Flavie did not know her new colleagues who officiate in Belgium. She took her first steps among them by teleworking, from France, without particular difficulties. A success that the business engineer explains as follows: “In Belgium, there is less face-to-face culture than in France. You don’t need to be behind your desk on site to prove you’re active. Since my company was already using telework regularly before containment, it was well organized.”
The most difficult and the most stressful for her was finally not starting from a distance but that the situation drags on. According to her, teleworking is good but sparingly. For those who had never set foot in Belgium, the reopening of the Franco-Belgian border on June 15 was seen as a relief.
Because today, Flavie has been able to move to Belgium and spends most of her working time in the agency’s premises, a situation that she likes most: “Even if I was quite effective from a distance, I missed the social bond. We are only ten in the agency, we have a real team life. I could not have stayed in full telework, I would have missed something, mainly on a human level. “
Pierre, 56 years old: “Now that I have gone to the office, I enjoy the days of teleworking”
He was anti-telecommuting before he tasted it, constrained and forced by confinement. Pierre Massebeuf experienced the end of his former employment at that time; the dematerialized and speedy transmission of files, goodbyes aborted. Seven years that he held his position, so inevitably, Pierre has a taste of incomplete. “I had started to think about who I was going to invite to my departure drink, to the little speech I was going to give“, he specifies, a little frustrated.
His assumption of duty in his new position, in the insurance sector as before, also took place during the confinement. “Teleworking didn’t interest me, I had never felt the desire to do it before the Covid. I prefer the face to face relationship“, explains this lover of good jokes, the kind of element that sets the mood in a team. remote communication has not, however, restrained it in its naturalness, whether written or oral, he would like to specify. On the other hand, on a purely professional level, when Pierre started to work remotely, that did not suit him, he judged his work “degraded“.
Since June, he has been going to the office almost every day. An open space integrated into another open space because its team – seven people in all but rarely present at the same time – deals with subjects subject to medical confidentiality. He works telework once or twice a week, and for him, that changes everything. He had only physically seen his boss on the day of his job interview, last February. Today he is more fulfilled: “I needed to see my manager again and meet my colleagues, both humanely and professionally. Now that it’s done, when I am offered a day of telecommuting, I don’t hesitate. I have found advantages when it is punctual.”
The main reasons for this are the freedom in arranging schedules, working on the terrace of your garden in the near Parisian suburbs, the serenity of being alone at home. “Paradoxically, even if the social bond is essential to be productive, there are days when loneliness makes more effective, days when you don’t waste time being solicited by others constantly“, he develops.
Like Pierre, a majority of employees favor this new method. According to one study Deskeo published on July 7, 2020, 73% of French people would like to telecommute two days a week even after the coronavirus episode.