- Telework is becoming a workplace standard for many companies due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may become more commonplace after the pandemic passes, according to a Gartner Inc. report published April 14. Almost 50% of organizations represented in the survey of HR leaders said 81% or more of their employees are working from home.
- Gartner found that 30% of employees worked remotely at least part of the time before the pandemic, and 41% said they are likely to work remotely, at least some of the time, in the future. "Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic has many employees planning to work in a way that they hadn’t previously considered," Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice, said in a statement.
- To help organizations manage remote talent during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gartner developed the NEAR model, which includes four steps: normalize self-direction; enable new relationships; accentuate the positive; and revamp team expectations. Remote workers are highly productive, yet harder for companies to retain, according to a survey of more than 5,000 employees from the first quarter of 2020, Gartner said.
To overcome challenges amid the shift to a remote work environment, companies must communicate expectations to employees, experts said.
Managers play a vital role in leading communication efforts and should lean heavily on technology, according to Dux Raymond Sy, chief marketing officer at AvePoint, a software company. Digital tools including SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and Yammer are useful, Sy said in a recent interview with CIO Dive, HR Dive's sister publication. Managers should also set work goals as a team, focus on production and accommodate the unexpected as employees adjust to remote work, he said.
Successful managers should also establish structured daily check-ins with remote employees, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR). It could be a team call if the work is collaborative or one-on-one calls, if staff works mainly independent of each other, HBR said.
During times of crisis, a team leader in a remote environment needs "a high level of social intelligence and strong collaboration skills,"Anita Williams Woolley, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, told HR Dive in a recent interview. Social intelligence is linked to emotional intelligence, which was listed in a Jan. 9 LinkedIn Learning report on the skills companies need the most in 2020. "Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your own emotions and the emotions of others," the report stated.
Responding to emotions of workers and showing care can increase employee retention. "The Science of Care," a Limeade Institute white paper published in October, defined "care" as providing what's necessary for an employee’s "health, welfare, maintenance and protection." Limeade said that 60% of workers surveyed who felt cared for said they plan to stay three or more years with their companies, in comparison to only 7% of those who said they don't feel cared for.