August 11, 2020
Employees were able to maintain or improve their perceived productivity at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hinting there may be more acceptance for virtual or hybrid workplaces in the future.
According to a new report from Boston Consulting Group, three-quarters of employees self-report being able to maintain or improve their productivity on individual tasks when they shifted to working from home during COVID-related lockdowns. Factors including workplace tools and social connectivity played a role in how well employees adapted to the sudden shift to virtual workplaces.
“It turns out that social connectivity is a critical element of what enables us to be productive when collaborating in the workplace,” said Debbie Lovich, managing director and senior partner at BCG, in a statement. “So, for any company looking to adapt to new virtual or hybrid virtual/onsite workplaces, promoting virtual social connectivity between colleagues is going to be critical.”
BCG surveyed more than 12,000 white-collar workers across sectors in the United States, Germany and India.
More than four in 10 employees began working remotely due to the pandemic, according to BCG.
Despite the sudden move to virtual work, the majority of employees believed they were able to be at least as productive, if not more productive, while working from home.
Seventy-five percent of employees reported maintaining or improving their productivity while working on individual tasks, compared to 51 percent while working on collaborative responsibilities.
Four factors that correlated with maintained or enhanced productivity were social connectivity, mental health, physical health and workplace tools. Employees who were satisfied with the level of social connectivity with their colleagues were two to three times more likely to maintain or improve their productivity on collaborative tasks.
This enhanced productivity may play a role in changing attitudes about remote work.
Sixty percent of employees surveyed want some flexibility in where or when they work. The desire for employee flexibility will likely impact how companies recruit and retain talent, including what tools and benefits will be offered to support employees in virtual or hybrid workplaces.
As work-from-home has become a new lifestyle for employees that does not seem to have an end in sight, brands must establish protocols to ensure that they are legally protected from any issues that could arise.
Operating in this grey area, marketers should proactively head off any potential headaches by setting up policies that set expectations for working from home (see story).