September 7, 2017
American office workers think it’s twice as difficult for remote workers to build relationships with the boss, make work friends, collaborate with their team and navigate the workplace culture than in-office workers, according to recent research. The “Reality of the Remote Worker Report,” claims that remote workers tend to have their presence go by unnoticed, with 43 percent of office workers believing it’s harder for remote workers to be seen in the workplace than those non-remote. The report, conducted online amongst over 1,500 US workers by YouGov for CyberLink, found a number of disadvantages for remote workers; with nearly 1 in 6 (15 percent) of office colleagues thinking that remote workers are less valued by a company, 20 percent believing they’re promoted less often and 8 percent even viewing them as less trustworthy. And office workers who were asked about their own concerns about working remotely expressed a range of potential frustrations.
Almost half (42 percent) said they wouldn’t be able to build relationships with their co-workers, and one-third (36 percent) said they would feel lonely or isolated from their team. Another third (34 percent) of workers said they would be missing out on the office culture if they worked from home, suggesting that simply being present in the office alongside co-workers appears to be a large factor of a positive work experience.
“Even though communication has largely shifted to digital mediums, face time is still a highly-valued part of business,” said Dr. Jau Huang, CEO of CyberLink.
“Remote workers don’t have a physical presence in the office, so their colleagues may be under the impression that they bring less to the table or aren’t a member of the team, even though that’s often not true.”
Creating a Remote Workplace Culture
With how quickly the business world is shifting to remote work, it’s not likely that the trend will move in reverse. Simplifying communication and aspects of collaboration among workers is a necessary part of making it work successfully, especially when one-third (31 percent) have been late or missed a meeting because of tech failure, or experienced the following technical difficulties:
- 2 in 5 (42 percent) have misinterpreted the tone of written communication (email, IM, etc.)
- 40 percent say an important call has been dropped
- Nearly a quarter (22 percent) have been late to or missed a meeting because it was too complicated to join
- More than quarter (28 percent) have used the wrong version of a document
- About 1 in 4 (23 percent) say an important video meeting has dropped
- 1 in 5 (21 percent) have mistakenly replied all to an email
These technology complications can make effective collaboration considerably more difficult, pushing office workers toward quick and straightforward modes of communication. In fact, more than one-third prefer to ask quick work-related questions over text or instant message and, shockingly, 1 in 13 (8 percent) would even prefer to be fired over text or instant message instead of having the conversation in-person.
“With remote workers representing nearly half of the workforce in 2017, it’s time for the perceptions of their value and role in business to shift. The gap between in-office and remote workers can be bridged with easy-to-use technology that streamlines communication with a laser focus on collaboration.” said Dr. Huang.