It turns out that remote workers may be more empathetic and have better co-worker relationships, despite the remote working stigma of laziness and isolation.
Polycom, a global leader in voice, video and content collaboration solutions, and Future Workplace – an HR executive network and research firm, preparing leaders for disruptions in recruiting, development, and employee engagement, today announced the results of a new global study of 25,234 workers entitled, “The Human Face of Remote Working”.
“We predicted that 2016 would be the year of video, and it’s satisfying to know that people are starting to adopt this way of working,” says Marcy McDowell, CEO of Polycom. “What it also tells us is that more businesses need to be able to offer collaboration tools – to enable that human contact that people crave – or risk losing out to those businesses who are able to offer flexibility and have access to talent and retain talent as a result.”
Nearly all (98 percent) of employees said that collaborative technologies make it easier to get to know, or build relationships, with co-workers and nearly half said that they know colleagues more personally thanks to video conferencing.
The study also revealed that an employee’s reliance on technology, especially video conferencing, actually drives them to pick up the phone more regularly.
With the acceleration of corporate flexibility programs, and the desire for remote work situations, two-thirds said their favorite colleagues work in a different location.
The survey was commissioned by Polycom Inc. and was conducted by Morar Consulting. Sample Data collected from 25,234 employees across 12 countries, which included: United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan, United Kingdom, India, Singapore, Germany, Russia, France, Australia and China.
55 percent of those surveyed had job titles managers or above. 58 percent of surveyed are responsible for care in some capacity, and 68 percent surveyed are parents.
“There is a stigma that remote workers are disconnected from the rest of the team, yet this study proves that they are more sociable and proactively reach out to develop strong relationships,” says Jeanne Meister, Partner at Future Workplace. “The new technology tools that enable communication and collaboration are actually motivating workers to pick up the phone, seek face time and create lasting bonds. This is the upside of remote work we rarely talk about.”
According to a Polycom Press release, additional highlights from the report include:
Flexible working is on the rise. Nearly 3 out of every 4 employees say their company offers flexible working and 32% said they regularly work remotely. An entire 79% of employees said they work with at least one person who isn’t based in the same office as them. When it comes to their preferred remote work location, 40% said home office, 24% said personal office and 11% said open plan office. The top drivers of remote work location preference are: helps them get in the right frame of mind, allows them to focus and inspires their creativity.
Technology powers the global remote workforce. 95% of those surveyed use collaboration technology to connect with co-workers and over a third use it multiple times a day. Also in the study, 90% said collaboration technologies are for improving productivity between teams in different locations.
Remote working has benefits and challenges. Employees who work remotely benefit from control over their work life balance (70%), more productivity (63%) and the ability to care for their children (38%). Most remote workers (62%) fear that other employees don’t think they are working as hard as them. Remote workers believe that they can overcome this fear by having their company invest more in collaborative technology and have clearer policies for flexible working.