Why Many Employees Feel More Productive Working from Home Today

CCI clients who run companies and their employees who I coach uniformly report they feel more productive working from home since the pandemic than they once did working in-person in their offices. Harvard Business Review published research in 2013 confirming these findings. They recently repeated this research since the pandemic began and recently published their findings in late August of 2020.

My clients agreed with their published research. I’m wondering if you will, too.

Below are what my clients and the Harvard research found point to as key points and takeaways:

  • Working from home helps people focus on the work that really matters. Employees are spending less time participating in meetings they are not actually needed in (to their great relief).
  • Many of these employees are able to spend more productive time with customers and in 1-on-1 meetings with their staff members, peers and senior managers discussing meaningful topics they previously rarely had time for (this tended to boost their engagement/morale).
  • Working remotely helps staff members take responsibility for their own time and schedules, making personal decisions about how they spend their time improved their engagement scores significantly.
  • From the very beginning, working remotely, knowledge workers viewed their work as more worthwhile. My clients believe their work became more valuable to the company and therefore to themselves.
    • So-called “busywork” seemed to vanish from their to-do list because it was easily delegated to others who were more eager and satisfied to do those tasks.
    • The Harvard Researchers found the task satisfaction dropped from 27% to 12%.
  • Keeping a virtual team feeling connected and engaged takes considerable intentional effort.
    • Being the leader of a virtual team requires learning a few yet vital new skills.
    • Mastering and being able to teach others to use the features and benefits of Zoom such as screen-sharing and having adequate lighting and sound.
  • Virtual conflict resolution skills typically require the manager to meet first individually with the parties involved before attempting a joint meeting.
    • Virtual joint meetings may require more than one virtual meeting to fully resolve the conflict and heal the relationships. Patience and empathy are essential ingredients that the leader needs to practice her/himself as well as teach to the other participants involved.
    • Useful TedXTalks and many YouTube Videos are readily available for teaching and/or enhancing these critical, emotionally intelligent skills and behaviors.
    • Leaders should not resist taking an extra day or so to request that the parties involved take time to educate themselves on these emotionally intelligent capabilities.
    • Their manager is encouraged to meet with each individual privately to assess their enhanced skill levels prior to convening a session to resolve the conflict.
  • Virtual social gatherings and team get-togethers should be offered and encouraged in order for team members and others in and outside the organization to attend (informal team members).
    • Human beings are social animals and the pandemic has, by necessity, created isolation from their work colleagues.
    • Intentionality is required to add back work-based social interaction which can occur partially during the workday and after work (4:30 – 5:30, as an example).
    • Thus, demonstrating the company is supporting this type of social interaction as well as encouraging employees to contribute their own time.
  • Leadership Development has been a priority for my clients during the pandemic.
  • Harvard’s Researchers found employee development suffered during the pandemic.
    • This discrepancy, I’m sure, is rooted in the fact that CCI uses highly validated research-based instruments such as The Harrison Preference Profile, the well-regarded Leadership Preferences Inventory and The Leadership Circle 360-degree Process to provide CCI’s clients with evidence-based learning experiences.
    • When leader and employee development professionals are guided by validated feedback, measurable progress has been statistically proven to take place.
  • Leadership Development has in fact accelerated for CCI clients working remotely because they have more unstructured time to focus on their developmental activities.
    • These developmental activities include;
      • 1-on-1 conversations with peers, subordinates, supervisor(s) and other senior executives.
      • Writing in a journal and updating their Leadership Development Plans.

In conclusion, remote work in our new world with new rules is providing opportunities for enhanced productivity and development once employees are given proper training.

Consultants in Corporate Innovation will be happy to provide anyone a list of training tips to help their company and equip their employees with the information and guidelines to maximize the productivity and engagement of their remote workers.

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