While multiple studies confirmed a 5-8% jump in productivity since the great shift to remote work, leaders are divided on whether this is a temporary anomaly or the dawn of a new era. There are a few asterisks to consider with the pandemic productivity figures:
Multiple studies have found remote workers are 5% to 13% more productive than on-site workers, but you might not know it from talking to their managers. Nearly 40% of managers surveyed by Australia’s Curtin University expressed reservations about managing remote workers, and 72% of managers in a SHRM study said they’d prefer having their entire team in the office.
While studies during the pandemic have shown virtual teams are highly productive, many managers can’t shake the suspicion that remote employees are doing laundry or going out for lattes when they’re supposed to be working.
Culture is an intangible yet invaluable asset for any organization. When people feel a sense of shared identity with their coworkers and commitment to the organization’s mission, it improves day-to-day performance and long-term talent retention. But what happens to an organization’s culture when people work remotely, instead of side-by-side?
A recent study found that, while virtual teams are 5-8% more productive, remote workers spend 25% less time communicating with peers outside their immediate group. This has some leaders worried that remote work will undermine the kind of cross-functional collaboration that drives innovation.
Ask any CEO or HR director today about their priorities, and they’re bound to list remote work and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) among the top five. And while these might seem like unrelated issues, multiple studies have found a surprising correlation between DE&I and virtual work. For instance:
While they differ on when and how often people should return to the office, most employers and employees agree that the future of work will be “hybrid”, with some people on-site and others at home, depending on the day. A Vergesense survey found 74% of organizations intend to adopt some kind of hybrid model long-term.