Benefits of working remotely with Pernilla Petrelius Karlberg

Foto: Håkan Målbäck

Stockholm School of Economics researcher Pernilla Petrelius Karlberg both lectures and has written books on societal development, digitalisation and leadership. According to her, employers must change and become even more flexible in the future: “Until the pandemic, there was an idea that efficiency could not exist outside the office environment. Now we have received proof from basically all sectors that remote jobs work ", she says.

With over 20 years of experience from leadership development and as a leadership researcher, Pernilla Petrelius Karlberg has recently devoted herself to understanding how to best be an inspiring and good leader when working remotely. Not meeting physically can be experienced as a great challenge for many, however, Pernilla points to a number of different benefits of having her staff distributed:

– You can see working time as communication time or as function time. The actual operating time, when you sit and work undisturbed, is perceived by many as important - this applies not least to developers. Research shows that when we are interrupted, it takes a long time for us to return to the workflow. On the other hand, my research shows that creativity over time is more difficult to lift from the physical workplace to the virtual space - perhaps with the exception of developers who have historically had to work remotely in their DNA.

"Studies show that women, especially abroad, get the life puzzle together in a better way as they can combine housework with their professional life"


Of course, with so many people working remotely, the requirements for leadership is also increasing. According to Pernilla, the remote leadership has shed light on how important the relationships are, in addition, the distributed leadership paves the way for higher efficiency, Pernilla explains:

– I am convinced that during the pandemic you learned “by doing” how important the relationship is, it can be created effectively even via a screen. One should not underestimate the power of the relationship but also the time it takes to build strong relationships with one's colleagues. You may take shorter meetings more often, which leads to higher efficiency. However, one should not forget that meetings are not everything - leaders must think about everything around and learn to manage time in the right way, which in some ways can be more difficult working remotely.

Remote work here to stay

So how does Pernilla think the remote work will develop in the future? In addition to the fact that employers must be able to be more flexible in their offer, she believes that there are great advantages given the time we save on commuting, for example:

– Until the pandemic, there was an idea that efficiency can not exist outside the office environment. We have now received proof from virtually all sectors that remote jobs work. You earn a lot of time by not traveling and moving. That time may not always be converted into more family time, but you work instead. You have more freedom of choice and can, for example, take a longer walk with the dog in the morning, which increases the quality of life in the long run. Studies show that women, especially abroad, get the puzzle of life together in a better way as they can combine "housework" with their professional life.

How should Swedish companies act to succeed in catching the digitalisation train?

– In a way, digitalisation has taken a giant step. What has not been thought about so much is how the business idea and benefits can be improved and made more efficient in digitalisation. Many companies need to do a huge job there.

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