Jostle and Dialectic recently completed a research study to understand the impact of remote work on individuals. Specifically, we wished to investigate how included and connected people feel while working remote. We heard from over 400 employees who had transitioned to remote work without changing employers.
With the study results in hand, we’re now equipped with information about where employees are struggling, how leaders and organizations are adapting, and what needs to be done to improve remote work so that everyone feels included and connected.
Remote leaders, let’s take a closer look at some of the points we discussed together:
1. Over 80% of our survey respondents reported that they were feeling lonely and disconnected.
Everything feels more transactional without seeing our peers in the flesh. Longer meetings dragging on and prolonged screen-staring make you feel tired. And did you know that it takes around 15-20 minutes for our brains to switch context? No wonder it’s exhausting. #ZoomFatigue
We need to collectively work on how we improve the work experience, so that people can operate in their own different ways. Learning about asynchronous communication best practices is a good first step.
2. We came across contradicting data between performance and belonging.
Do you feel that you’re more productive than before? From our study, we found that people feel more productive with the deep focus in their own homes, but their feelings of belonging have worsened. Find out why this goes against empirical research about the relationship between performance and belonging.
3. People are feeling unwell but take less time off—and that’s not good.
In a pandemic, you’d expect that people are taking more sick days off. But the opposite is happening—while unwell employees wouldn't be able to go in the office before, the barrier to “doing work” has simply been lowered. That means that some people are probably lying on the couch whilst typing out a document. Individuals in remote leadership positions should model taking sick days to prevent burnout and employees having no time to recoup, recover, and relax.
Despite this, people still want to work remote! Employers need to look at remote work not as a perk anymore, but part of your standard operating practice. In our current state of communication, the margin of error has widened for misunderstanding and for people feeling more disconnected because they don't have eye contact with people and no longer share the same emotional tether due to lack of in-person interaction.
Revisit our conversation in the recording below!