Work Better and Live Better, the Zevillage doctrine. Xavier Mazenod answers our questions.
Working and Living Better, the doctrine of Xavier Mazenod, founder of the reference website on the new ways of working: ZEVILLAGE. On the occasion of the publication of our user survey of our coworking space, we wanted to know more about this revolution in working methods. Are French companies really ready for change? teleworking agreements, coworking and third place are they part of their wage policy today? What do the employees 2.0 of their workspace?
Xavier de Mazenod is a former journalist. He manages a consultancy and training company, Adverbe, in the field of economic intelligence and lobbying on the Web and transformation of work organisations, the two pillars of digital transformation. Publisher of www.zevillage.net, a site providing information and social network for new work styles
Why was the Zevillage site created?
Zevillage was created in 2004 when I left Paris and settled down in the country, in Normandy. A lot of people were asking me how to do the same thing, and work without having to worry about the distance. I started publishing a small blog, which has today become the reference website for new work styles.
Who are your readers?
For a long time, my readers have consisted of independent workers or employees who wanted to change their lives by opting for telecommuting. Today, my readers consist of more companies who are giving this a thought and implementing transformation projects with mobility or telecommuting, or who are gathering information about new practices and new places of work.
What according to you are the major tendencies in the transformation of work styles today in France?
The tendency is an acceleration of implementation of projects in companies since 2 or 3 years. Independent workers do not have this problem of transformation of their office. They are flexible and mobile by nature and can actually benefit from the co-working revolution by no longer being isolated and create a working group if they want.
Are the major Companies currently progressing towards telecommuting agreements and using third places for their employees?
I would say telecommuting is no longer really an issue for companies. They will do it, a lot of them have signed agreements, the processes are known and there are lots of examples. It will take a bit longer in the public sector, where the culture is more hierarchical and more traditionally face-to-face than in the private sector, but it will happen.
The next change will be the discovery of third places by companies and administrations. External professional third places or the internal third place approach, and co-working spaces.
If not, what are the obstacles according to you?
The obstacles are known and are always a bit similar: face-to-face working culture (the employee is not doing anything if he or she is not at the workplace), culture of control (importance of timeclocks more than trust). In a survey which we carried out 3 years ago, it was observed that the opinion of managers is changing radically after the implementation of telecommuting, once they understand the benefits: increase in employee productivity and improvement in the quality of life in particular.
What do users expect from their place of work today? New services, new spaces, proximity...
It depends on the people but I would say everyone at least expects good quality equipment and a good Internet connection. And proximity as well (there is no point in travelling 2 hours to co-work). But the primary advantage of these places is the community of people working there. Making contacts, getting support, increase in business or services. In short, a network based on trust. Then come the services. In this regard, the concierge service in these services is often cited, but in reality, it is not used much.
What do users expect from the work setup in a company: co-working, flexibility of working hours, mobility?
A bit of all this together in order to have autonomy and also responsibility, the ability to work when needed. In France, we tend to focus on the risks of these new organisations even though, seen from the employee’s perspective, the blurred lines between personal and professional lives is seen as an advantage.
According to you, what will be the impact of these new work styles on managerial methods in companies?
The pre-requisite for this type of project is the existence of trust in the manager-employee relation. If there is trust, and if the social environment is good, any type of development is possible. Telecommunication is a good method of bringing up the subject. Then, if the Company is open to innovations, the transformation can be profound: co-working, mobility, open company, hub company, etc.
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