Interview with Felipe Valdés, CEO of Tiaxa
Lessons and Challenges of Telecommuting
Since March, Tiaxa’s operations in America and Asia have adapted to the remote work working style imposed by the coronavirus. Felipe Valdés, CEO of Tiaxa, gives us an overview of the lessons and challenges prompted by this novel mode of organization.
Lesson: More time to balance personal and work life
“There is a significant savings in time, you no longer have to go to and from the office, and travel is also suspended. This gain in time can be incredibly valuable and allows us to get closer to the cherished work – life balance”.
Despite the fact that each person within Tiaxa has experienced working from home in a different manner, for a large majority it has been a positive experience, since the flexibility and efficiency given to us by digitization has allowed us to distance ourselves from the co-dependency with physical spaces.
Challenge: The importance of caring for mental health in the context of the crisis.
“We are only now beginning to see the effects of burnout, because people are not taking vacation and its difficult to separate work time from family/home time. We are in a scenario in which there is no certainty of how severe the new wave of the virus will be. It’s important to take a break and catch up with ourselves and our families”.
Telecommuting has corroborated the commitment of Tiaxa members to their tasks and objectives, and efficiency has actually increased. However, the current context according to Valdés, brings up the challenge of being subjected to high stress loads related to being constantly connected. Consequently, in Tiaxa it was suggested that all members of the organization take at least a week off during the last month of the year.
Lesson: More communication, better integration.
Despite the fact that Tiaxa’s Headquarters in Chile operate with an eleven-hour difference with the Philippines, teamwork has improved due to the frequency of video calls. “The more communication, the better – we have notably improved the integration between America and Asia, thus strengthening links and collaboration to face challenges.”
Challenge: Passing our company culture on to new employees
Tiaxa is one of the companies that is fortunate to continue growing during the pandemic, incorporating more than twenty new members to its different teams. Felipe argues that telecommuting is a challenge for the onboarding process for all organizations. Transmitting the organizational culture to people who have only met coworkers virtually, building trust in teams and generating opportunities for dialogue are some of the most important challenges that companies face when hiring new employees in this context.
Lesson: Building trust with customers
Tiaxa has consolidated the relationship with its clients, showing that virtualization is not a barrier to continue growing in opportunities. “It is no longer necessary to fly to Mexico and other countries to meet with the client, because when a relationship has been built based on trust, partnerships always prosper.”
Challenge: New clients
Felipe acknowledges that a main challenge of the digital context is achieving new customer wins. “An important challenge has been winning new clients. Customers prefer to do more business with their current suppliers. It’s difficult to start from scratch”. Despite this, Tiaxa has been improving its virtual sales strategies and has begun to achieve new clients, who in turn acknowledge Tiaxa’s commitment, knowledge and quality of work.
Change of Work Model: Towards a Hybrid Model
“We want to move our working style towards a hybrid model, in order to take advantage of what we have learned and gained in this period,” says Valdés. Tiaxa will adopt a 60% remote work mode starting in 2021 – or when the pandemic allows it – an example of the permanent changes that confirm that telecommuting is here to stay in Chile and in the world. “We want to return to the office when it is safe to do so, but partially. I believe that this year we have shown that we are able service our customers in the best way, fulfilling all of our commitments, independent of where our place of work is”.