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Is Home the New Office?

February 28, 2020

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Staying at home may be the best way to get the most done at work, according to a new Korn Ferry survey of professionals regarding working virtually.

88% of the respondents say they are more productive when they work virtually, and 84% say they actually work more when they don’t go into the office.

More than a third (38%) say they work virtually full time, with a third (33%) saying they work remotely 1-2 days per week. The majority (82%) say that when they work remotely, they work from home.

According to the survey, working virtually has become much more accepted, as 80% say their employer has become more favorable to remote workers in the last two years. 79% percent say working virtually does not hinder their career advancement, and 78% say their colleagues who go into the office every day do not resent them for working virtually.

“The virtual work phenomenon is here to stay, and it’s only going to involve more people over time,” said Jeanne MacDonald, President of Global RPO Solutions for Korn Ferry. “To be successful, virtual workers need to show that they can be productive anywhere, engage with their boss and teams, and enter the workplace strategically. The more they are seen, the more successful they will be when working virtually.”

The survey shows there are some drawbacks to working virtually. The largest percentage of respondents (37%) say the biggest obstacle to remote working is loneliness, followed by technical/connectivity issues (32%).  Employers must address these issues by putting in place ways to encourage employee camaraderie – even when remote – and by having the necessary technology in place to support a remote work environment.

“With solid access to the right tools and technology, along with regular interaction with colleagues – such as video conferencing or occasional in-person meetings – remote workers can and should feel productive and part of a team,” said MacDonald.

Other findings include:

How often do you work virtually?
Full time                          38%

3-4 days/week                12%

1-2 days/week                33%

Almost never                  17% 

Do you feel working virtually hinders career advancement?
Yes                                 21%
No                                  79%

Are you more or less productive when working virtually?

More productive            88%

Less productive             12%

If you work virtually, do you feel like you work less or more?

Less                               16%

More                               84%

If you work virtually, where do you most often work?

Home                              82%

Coffee shop                      2%

Shared space                   8%

In transit                          7%

Has your employer become more or less favorable to working remotely in the last 2 years?

More favorable                80%

Less favorable                 20%

What’s the biggest obstacle to working virtually?

Background noise           0%

Being interrupted            9%

Chores                            5%

Getting distracted          17%

Loneliness                     37%

Technology issues         32%

How do you connect with your boss/office if you work virtually?

Regular check-in calls/video conferencing           53%

Planning for periodic facetime in the office          14%

Emails                                                                 27%

Texting                                                                  6%

Have you ever pretended you were working virtually, when actually you were “out having fun” at a baseball game, beach, golfing, etc?

Yes                                  11%

No                                   89%

Do your non-virtual working colleagues resent you for working virtually?

Yes                                   78%

No                                    22%

The ASE Approach
A majority of ASE staff work remotely two days per week.  We utilize Microsoft Teams to ensure no loss in communication. Staff are required to use the video tool when meeting.  We have one day per week that is required for all staff to be in the office.  Team activities are planned on this day. The experience overall for ASE has been positive.

Additional ASE Resources
How to Embrace and Leverage Virtual Work – 
This breakout session at the Annual HR Conference on March 12, 2020 will share tips and tools to address the challenges all organizations face, including resistant supervisors, when adopting virtual work. The role and effective use of technology will be discussed and demonstrated.  More information on the Annual HR Conference and the registration link can be found here.

Webinar: Building Trust Virtually – Prelude – Join us on Friday, March 20th at 10:00 a.m. for a webinar on Prelude Suite: an experiential learning platform and method. Learn how you can improve self‐awareness, better understanding of teammates, better communication, appreciation of diverse strengths, shared vision of excellence, better task alignment, positive emotional climate, and psychological safety of your teams virtually. This webinar will be presented by kd3worz Consulting & Training.  Learn more and register here.

Managing a Virtual Workforce – In this new ASE course, participants will learn the benefits and challenges of virtual work for both employers and employees. The importance of strong, engaged management will be discussed along with effective management practices to assure successful virtual teams.   This class will be held Thursday, April 2nd from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the ASE office in Livonia.  Learn more or register here.

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