Big brother-style methods to track the performance of remote workers will be rejected in favour of a trusting, flexible work culture, according to a new survey of HR leaders.
The pandemic has led to a well-documented shift to more people working away from their offices and out of sight of their managers. But companies would rather trust their employees than track their computer mouse movements and website visits, found the poll of executives.
Business consultancy firm The Culture Builders interviewed 150 HR leads from July to September, and the findings give a revealing insight into the true impact of the pandemic and its influence on future ways of working, including the management of remote workers.
Published in the report Poly-working: the evolution of hybrid working, they include
- Some 50.3% companies said they would give their employees greater autonomy and support
- Trustworthiness (58%), empathy and supportiveness (57.6%) and resilience (52.3%) were the most important leadership qualities post-lockdown
- Only 15.9% would consider surveillance technology, such as mouse monitoring software, to help manage the performance of a remote workforce
Chris Preston, co-founder and director of The Culture Builders, said: “If you buy surveillance technology for your workforce, the cost will be the trust of your employee base. And once that’s spent, good luck getting it back.
“If you game the employee-base with monitoring software then, guess what, they will game it right back. Just like me tying my stepometer to the dog, people will work out how to make it look like they are hard at work, when they are anything but.
“If you don’t trust your employees, you probably need to take a long hard look at your leadership style and cohort, not dash to the store and buy snooping software.”
Other findings in the survey include
- despite the perception of many that the pandemic brought us all closer together, the pandemic actually weakened company culture for a significant proportion, particularly for companies with between 500 and 1,000 employees
- employee engagement, such as maintaining motivation and developing talent, was singled out as the biggest challenge for most organisations during the first phases of the outbreak
- supporting the mental health and wellbeing of workers was the most time-consuming for HR leads, but they now have a better understanding of how to manage it
- as recently as last August, a significant proportion of organisations did not have a fully fledged plan for transition to new ways of working post-lockdown
The survey is one of the most up-to-date investigations into the way employers are now making the transition from working within enforced Covid-19 restrictions to post-lockdown operations. Its findings, says The Culture Builders, underline why forward-thinking leaders are now moving beyond the simple office vs homeworking model of hybrid working.
“New terminology is required to understand what’s happening,” said Preston. “Hybrid working is a two-dimensional phrase; you are in the office sometimes, and at home others.
“We are moving to a working landscape that’s so much more complex. It’s not about blending the two locations, it’s about creating approaches that enable individuals to construct a professional life that’s wrapped around them. We call it ‘poly’ because, quite simply, there will be many, many variations of a working pattern.”
The new report highlighted the flexibility offered to employees at Pfizer.
Emma Berry, senior director and global lead for communications and engagement at Pfizer, said: “We have a culture that puts colleague health and wellness first. We work extremely hard, but we’re empowered and trusted to get our work done in a time and way that suits us personally. My manager focuses on the outcome – not the hours I work! And of course, the reality is that when you empower and trust people, they give you more.”
The full report can be found here https://theculturebuilders.com/polyworkingguide