Most business leaders did not want productivity, security, or culture to be impacted. Recently, managers had no choice but to put more trust in their employees and, although COVID-19 is likely to eventually subside, an increase in the number of people working from home is here to stay.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, “75% of managers say they trust their employee, but a third say they’d like to be able to see them, just to be sure.” While the majority of organizations let managers decide who can and cannot work remotely, this fear has meant that only 56% allowed their employees to work remotely.
The lack of trust in virtual working environments is fueled by common themes. Business leaders and managers have struggled with evolving the virtual workplace due to a pervading emotion: fear. As such, they shied away from the concept of unsupervised, virtual work environments.
The reasoning behind a manager’s fear and ultimate decision to limit the number of employees working remotely is complex and involves a variety of factors.
Common fears include:
- Teams will not be as productive if they are not regularly communicating in person
- The company does not have the technology to support a virtual working environment
- Employees cannot be as collaborative remotely as they are in person.
However, COVID-19 forced managers to overcome their fears by experiencing working remotely firsthand. Studies show that managers who try working remotely themselves are more likely to enable others to do the same.
Lessons managers learned from this abrupt change in working environments include:
- Over two-thirds of employers reported telecommuters to be more productive and demonstrate more autonomy
- 90% of organizational security officials are not concerned with home-based work, as long as appropriate training and tools are in place
- Employees have more freedom to collaborate through virtual platforms and without regard to logistics.
Once familiar with virtual tools, managers realize that productivity, security, and collaboration do not have to be compromised to enable a virtual working environment.
The right tools for the job
The truth is that organizations can thrive in virtual working environments with trust and the right tools. It is no secret that COVID-19 has impacted the way businesses are run, but it is up to organizational leadership to adapt to this “new normal” way of working. Trust, empathy, and authenticity must remain priorities to successfully lead in a remote environment.
Let’s face it – things will never be the same, so it is imperative that organizations don’t just recover but rethink their digital workplace.