Ready or Not: Are Employees Ready to Go Remote?

Remote and flexible work has grown for the better part of 20 years, but for many workers and their companies, it’s still far from commonplace. With the novel coronavirus threatening to shut down workplaces and force widespread remote work, Wrike wanted to know how workers felt about their employers’ preparedness for such an unprecedented event.

Between March 11 and March 12, 2020, we used SurveyMonkey Audience to survey 1,000 full-time employees who work at companies with more than 200 employees. Our goal was to uncover how employees, managers, and generations perceive remote work and their company’s readiness to face extended, mandated remote work due to a pandemic.

We hope our findings help your organization be better prepared so you can remain productive and profitable — no matter what comes next.

Nearly half of respondents say they never work from home

With a majority of employees reporting that they never work from home, companies need to recognize the new productivity challenges team members will face. Support your team members by providing them with remote work best practices, helping them set boundaries, and ensuring they understand their goals.

Workers question if they can do their jobs as effectively when working from home

Many employees, especially those that typically don’t work from home, can have a hard time adjusting to remote work best practices. Homes may be full of distractions, lacking dedicated workspaces, missing key resources, and more. On top of that, some companies don’t have the IT infrastructure to support remote activities, leading to project roadblocks and delays.

When setting remote work policies, give teams the tools they need to optimize productivity and establish clear processes to support them.

For virtual collaboration, old school tools still rule the workplace — but do they hurt or help remote work?

The next most common tools include:

  • Video conferencing (50%)
  • Messaging platforms (46%)
  • Cloud-based office suites (48%)

In a survey Wrike produced in December 2019 on productivity and engagement, respondents cited the ability to work at any time and work effectively from anywhere as key to boosting their productivity and engagement. Even before the current crisis, workers were asking for stronger work management and collaboration capabilities.

Email may be an excellent resource for communication, but when it comes to project collaboration, it gets messy quickly. Key information can get lost in chains, there’s a lack of transparency, asset iterations get confused during approvals, and more. A collaborative work management or project management tool keeps collaboration in one place and also documents and files so everyone stays aligned.

Although phone conferencing is useful, seeing people’s faces often helps resolve issues much more easily. Employees unfamiliar with remote work may feel isolated, so consider exploring a video conferencing tool to help establish that human connection.

Measuring remote work productivity

In fact, nearly a third (31%) of employees say they don’t know how their company measures remote productivity, and another quarter (23%) say there’s no formal measurement other than trust.

Although the majority of workers (71%) say they trust their colleagues to maintain a high level of productivity while working remotely, it’s the responsibility of leadership to set clear priorities and goals so that projects stay on track. Keeping work in a single platform or project management tool can provide the visibility team members need to measure their output and see what’s coming up next. Team leaders can leverage this visibility to address bottlenecks and bridge any gaps so that everyone can stay aligned — even when apart.

Differences in remote work perception by the generations

Millennials are most confident in their company’s technology stack. In addition to feeling more confident in their own ability to work remotely, millennials were 20% more likely than boomers and 10% more likely than Gen X to say their company has the tech needed to handle the transition to remote work.

It was also interesting to note that over a quarter (26%) of millennials say their employer is underreacting to the COVID-19 threat. Just 18% of Gen X and 12% of baby boomers say the same.

Survey analysis from Wrike Founder Andrew Filev

This unprecedented public health crisis is going to be a trial by fire for companies that haven’t previously invested in remote work, but those who have already built a culture around virtual collaboration should be well-positioned to execute and keep employees engaged and productive.”

How Team Wrike is helping during this time

During turbulent times, it’s critical we come together. At Wrike, we want to enable all teams to do their best work, which is why we’re offering all new Wrike users looking to uplevel their remote productivity Wrike Professional free for 6 months.

Originally published at https://www.wrike.com.

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