COVID-19 has fast-tracked remote working, a model that had struggled to gain traction before the pandemic. Global leaders anticipate that a hybrid working model will continue post-pandemic, this is likely to change how organisational culture and overall engagement intersects with staff. Organisational effectiveness levers such as talent retention, performance and stakeholder value will signal the change. Omnicor’s data collection since the onset of covid has found that remote working has impacted how we manage and sustain employee engagement.
(Data set : 509 employees, across 6 organisations and diverse industries, including Consulting, Medical, Financial Services and Public Sector)
The impact of working in a hybrid or distributed work force is an idiosyncratic affair. Some employees noted a positive impact on their work-life integration, citing the decrease in commuting time as a major win, to some extent diminishing stress. Others noted an increase in valuable family time and autonomy. For many however the blurred line between work and life boundaries are trickier to handle and they find themselves working longer hours, unable to successfully integrate family and work demands resulting in an increased level of chronic stress.
Relationships & Connection
The ability to build lasting and effective working relationships and to connect to others through effective communication is critical for team and organisational success. Our research has identified that a number of employees experience heightened workplace isolation, negatively impacting their ability to have the organic human moments that are experienced in the office which keep us connected to each other and the organisational culture. This has further impacted the ability for new joiners or staff in general to receive effective training or mentoring, which may impact career progression and the ability to understand the organisational cultural nuances. Being at the office, in person remains the gold standard for shared experience and replicating this in the virtual workplace remains difficult.
Omnicor has observed conflicting views on the impact of remote working on productivity, while most employees reported higher levels of “felt productivity”, as they have seen an increase in their working hours, output per hour has decreased. This decrease in output per hour was attributed to less opportunities for deep work. The chunks of uninterrupted time required to focus, and concentrate are just overtaken by many online meetings.
To support staff during this challenging time a new flexible leadership is required, situational leadership calls for a more human approach, making sure to notice what each staff member needs. Remote teams mention they value leaders who are organised, productive and those who easily facilitate connections between colleagues. Leaders are required to be emotionally intelligent to understand and to create models that best fit their employee’s situation as the impact of working remotely is so variable. Leaders who remain out of touch and out of date in their approach will soon lose talented staff.
To try out our Engagement Tool contact Amelia Samuels Amelia@omnicor.co.za
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Author – Amelia Samuels