Friday, 4th December 2020

Connected culture critical to the success of the hybrid workforce

Survey sheds light on role of employers in embracing a connected culture to power remote and prepare for hybrid workforces.

RingCentral UK Ltd. has released the findings of its Connected Culture Report revealing that employees working for companies that foster a “connected culture” are twice as likely (34% vs. 15%) to be productive when working from anywhere, than those that don’t. The study defines companies that foster a “connected culture” as those that blend effective technology that helps teams stay connected with a commitment to supporting work/life balance, and frequent opportunities for people to interact with one another. As positive news about a vaccine emerges, the survey findings reiterate the important role employers play in building a culture that encourages employee productivity and well-being -- key factors for an engaged remote and hybrid workforce working from anywhere.

The study, conducted by CITE Research in partnership with Kaleido Insights, surveyed 4,000 knowledge workers across four countries, including 1,000 from across the UK, about how they have adapted and adjusted to this extended period of remote working with the onset of the pandemic.

“Since the pandemic hit the UK last March, forcing the nation into their homes, we have seen the debate over productivity while working remotely rage on. While some leaders have branded it ‘bad for business’, the results of this study show that an employee’s level of productivity is highly dependent on how far a company has gone to build a culture of connection - despite being separated physically,” said Steve Rafferty, country manager - UK & Ireland, RingCentral. “Sadly, this also means that for companies that were not ready for remote working before March, and have done very little to adapt subsequently, employee productivity and wellbeing will almost certainly have suffered as a result. As remote working looks to continue, businesses must stop resisting change and make the move to digital - bringing what made the company great offline, online through technology and social behaviour.”

The shift to WFH has not levelled the playing field

The Connected Culture Report also revealed a number of other impacts stemming from the sudden shift to remote working that need to be addressed by businesses.

  • According to the survey, men in the UK are handling remote work better than women during the pandemic. British women are reporting lower levels of happiness (36% vs. 43%) and motivation (32% vs. 44%) in comparison to their male counterparts.

The reason for this disparity is rooted in the differences in working space at home.

  • Almost half of all UK male respondents stated that they have a dedicated office space with a closed-door; while just over a third of women noted having the same professional set-up at home. Unsurprisingly, only 34% of women are keen to continue working from home post-pandemic.

Those under the age of 25 are also being unfairly disadvantaged.

  • Despite the majority having a dedicated workspace at home, almost half of those under 25 would prefer to work from the company office post-pandemic. A stark contrast to Generation Xers: less than a third want to go back to the office post-pandemic, with 40% wanting to work from home going forward.

Yet, according to the study, fear and loneliness are pushing Gen Z back to the office.

  • 60% cited a lack of human connection being the biggest downside to working remotely, and just over a third (32%) believe long-term home working will lead to a lack of progression or career advancement.

In a bid to level the playing field during the pandemic, many UK companies have been taking a hybrid approach - allowing workers to split their time between home and office during the working week. Yet, according to the study, only 23% of all office workers surveyed showed any interest in working this way post-pandemic.

"The results of this study are so meaningful in the way they show concrete steps any business can take towards adopting a connected culture. It is what employees want,” said Anand Eswaran, president and chief operating officer, RingCentral. "Our company is founded on the power of connecting people. The study validates our belief that harnessing that power leads to a productive and engaged remote workforce, as well as the hybrid workforce we anticipate in the future.”

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