A new survey from Vyopta shows the differences in how decision makers view remote and in-office employees.
While most workers have become accustomed to full hybrid or remote work setups in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, executives say they don’t believe employees operating virtually and not being filmed will have the power to stay in their business. A new survey from Vyopta shows that nearly all (96%) of the 200 decision makers surveyed said remote employees are at a disadvantage compared to those who work primarily in the office.
“The people who make up our workforce are and always have been the soul of the organization, the cornerstone of our operations and the heart to make everything work,” said Alfredo Ramirez, President and CEO of Vyopta. “We appreciate the importance of attracting and retaining great people who have faced various challenges and disruptions in their personal and professional lives during the pandemic.”
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Businesses can’t choose, can they?
While many companies are still struggling with labor shortages due to the pandemic and the Great Resignation, it is interesting to note that leaders are still dividing the workforce based on the location of an employee. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million workers left their jobs in November 2021 and 4.3 million people left or changed jobs in December 2021. Yet leaders impose on their employees to be more committed in order to move forward. in their places of work.
Reportedly, those at the highest levels value employees in front of the camera working remotely. Of the executives surveyed, 92% said workers who are less engaged, regularly mute, or don’t have video turned on likely don’t have a long-term future ahead of them at work. Decision makers see this as a sign that below-average work performance will be a problem in the future, as 93% said employees who turn off their cameras are generally less engaged with their jobs overall.
With less employee engagement or below-average job performance, the guesses of those at the executive level, as 43% said they thought these employees were browsing the internet, texting or talking with someone instead of being more productive in their role.
Executives are partly responsible for disconnecting from the workplace
While decision-makers largely believe that the employees in question are responsible for their own actions, those at higher levels are introspective about who is to be criticized. Forty-six percent of US executives said they haven’t given their employees the tools they need to be as engaged as their in-person counterparts. Almost half (49%) say senior managers are the main culprits for this disconnect, followed by HR (28%) and senior managers (10%).
From the employees’ point of view, the frequency and volume of virtual meetings have contributed to the disengagement of a significant part of them. Zoom fatigue is a real factor, as 48% of executives admit that the reason many employees aren’t as engaged is due to too many meetings. For many workers, superfluous meetings are also a significant issue, as some meetings are considered a waste of time and many could simply have been communicated via email.
This in turn leads many remote employees to fall behind their counterparts in the office, and this is exemplified by the way executives think. Among decision makers surveyed, 94% believe remote workers are at a disadvantage compared to in-person employees, which has reduced opportunities for employees to operate virtually.
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Ways to engage virtual employees more
Three steps suggested in the study included:
- Highlight individual employee achievements
- Provide direct performance feedback
- Invest to make virtual tools more accessible
Some of the potential solutions to these problems are simple, but require an honest assessment of what organizations can do better. For example, reducing the number of virtual meetings and communicating via email or work channels like Slack and Microsoft Teams can alleviate some of the Zoom fatigue seen among remote employees. Of those surveyed, 54% say their company uses official channels such as Slack or Teams, so short messages can be delivered through these channels rather than booking another meeting.
All companies surveyed said they have taken greater steps to get in-person and remote workers on the same page since the start of the pandemic, and these steps need to be taken continuously to keep all employees on a Equality. Half of executives surveyed, however, say remote workers need to take extra steps to stay engaged, and 50% said they need additional training for remote collaboration.
Although leaders deserve some of the blame for keeping employees engaged, wherever they are based, it is imperative that organizations and workers strive to solve all the problems when it comes to putting all employees on an equal footing.