- Amid the rise in flexible work arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic, so-called "deskless" workers view their working experiences differently than their managers do, according to results of a survey published this week by workforce management service vendor WorkForce Software.
- Of the employers in the survey, 81% said they felt their organizations successfully adjusted their scheduling policies to account for the pandemic's impact, while 64% of deskless workers agreed. Additionally, 82% of employers said their organizations offered scheduling flexibility, while 59% of workers answered similarly.
- This perception gap extended to overall employer responses to COVID-19; 81% of employer respondents said their organizations adapted to the coronavirus effectively, while 64% of workers agreed. Such disconnects may lead to increased turnover, reduced productivity or other impacts, WorkForce Software CEO Mike Morini said in a press release emailed to HR Dive.
Even as employers embrace remote work — and by extension, hybrid work — managers will need to strategize around obstacles that inhibit employee engagement and experience.
Research published last year by corporate training company VitalSmarts showed that employers may not be acknowledging the ways in which remote work can lead to greater turnover as well as decreased productivity and morale. The company also noted that remote work could hurt the ability of employees to work as teams.
Virtual work also may be damaging to employees' trust of both management and their co-workers, which in turn may impact elements such as information sharing and social cohesion, according to an analysis published June 2020 by the Advance Workplace Institute. A September 2020 IBM Institute for Business Value report similarly found evidence of employee skepticism toward the idea that employers were committed to supporting them through the pandemic.
Though it may not always be possible to replicate aspects of the in-person work experience in a remote or hybrid environment, HR and managers can seek to improve virtual interactivity between teams to ensure teammates have the opportunity to interact and encourage each other, sources previously told HR Dive. Concrete investments in talent development, mentorship and sponsorship may allow employers to demonstrate their support of employees.
As the pandemic accelerates digital transformation trends such as automation, employers can work to establish learning relationships between employees and new technologies. That could go hand-in-hand with management styles that place emphasis on the quality and output of work that employees produce, rather than on the quantity of hours they log.