Most US employees don’t believe remote working colleagues are really working

Only 24 percent of people trust their remote working colleagues to get work done from home, according to a new poll from EnvoyOnly 24 percent of people trust their remote working colleagues to get work done from home, according to a new poll from Envoy. However, the latest edition of its Return to the Workplace survey also suggests that 94 percent of workers believe their managers trust them to do their work from anywhere, home or the office. And the older the worker, the greater the confidence they have in expressing such a belief. Only 57 percent of ‘Gen Z’ feel strongly that they have their manager’s trust compared with 71 percent of ‘Millennials’ and 77 percent of ‘Boomers’. (Wot? No Gen X? – Ed)

Though most employees surveyed believe their managers have faith in them when remote working, 44 percent have experienced a rise in micromanaging since returning to the workplace. Over a third (38 percent) claim the micromanagement is the same whether in-office or remote and 18 percent say the controlling behaviour has lessened since their return.

“Workplace culture has taken a beating over the past few years. Less visibility in the office is skewing perceptions and seeding a distrust of everyone and everything, starting from leadership and trickling down,” said Larry Gadea, CEO and Founder of Envoy. “There was a time when managers didn’t care how work was accomplished. Now they realize that the relationships and trust employees develop in-person are critical to getting work done right, especially in today’s environment. The companies that understand this are bringing teams together on-site – in some capacity– to work towards hitting those hard-to-reach company objectives. By being physically present, teams can adapt and solve complex problems faster and more efficiently than in isolation.”

Main findings:

Employees trust coworkers who show up to the office

  • When asked who they trusted more to get their work done, those in-office or those working from home. 76 percent of employees say they trust coworkers to be productive when they’re in the office. Meanwhile only 24 percent trust their coworkers to get work done remotely.
  • Gen Z employees, more than any other generation, give remote working colleagues the benefit of doubt. 31 percent trust their colleagues to do their work when working outside of the office. Only 23 percent of Millennials, 26 percent of Gen X, and 17 percent of Boomers feel the same.
  • Those that split their time between the workplace and home tend to put more faith in coworkers who work remotely. 34 percent of hybrid employees trust colleagues to get more work done remotely compared to only 10 percent of those who work full-time in the office.

There are tasks best accomplished in the office 

  • Almost every employee (98 percent) believes certain work activities can be better achieved at the office than when remote working. Topping the list are training and onboarding (54 percent), problem solving (53 percent), and collaboration or brainstorm sessions (50 percent). At the bottom of the list are conflict management (37 percent) and meetings with folks outside the organisation (35 percent).

Employees agree that office visibility improves job security given recession fears

  • Envoy’s At Work report last Autumn claimed that 96 percent of leaders notice employees’ work contributions more when employees come into the office versus when they work from home.
  • As economic pressures and layoffs continue, most workers see office visibility as a critical advantage. 92 percent say being seen at the office improves their job security, even if only slightly. Nearly 2 in 5 (38 percent) believe it significantly boosts their ability to keep their position.
  • When asked what changes would help their company succeed during a potential recession, 56 percent of workers point to improving operational efficiencies. 53 percent say that giving people more flexibility will make the difference while 44 percent believe a greater focus on company culture or strengths will help their company survive.
  • Only 40 percent mentioned layoffs, executive pay cuts, or other cost cutting measures.

Teamwork matters more than individual performance

  • How well people collaborate with others and how much work they’re able to accomplish as a team is more important than ever. More than half of office workers (54 percent) say their managers value group productivity over individual performance.
  • Men (58 percent) and those in Gen Z (59 percent) are more apt to believe that managers prioritize group productivity over individual performance. Only 49 percent of their female counterparts and 53 percent of their Millennial peers think likewise.

Why do people make friends at work? To build a network of support

  • Without trustworthy friends, an office can be a lonely place. 69 percent of those surveyed say that they make friends at work for support. 68 percent prioritize work relationships for better collaboration, while 60 percent say friendships give them a deeper sense of belonging.
  • Overall, the return to the office has employees feeling better about themselves and their co-workers. 85 percent report a stronger sense of camaraderie since their return, which has boosted their mental wellbeing.

Gadea added: “This year, some companies will shine and stand out from the pack. Not because they build the best widget or they have the hardest working employees, but because of intentional steps they’ve taken to rebuild a strong community together.”