Is everyone doing well?

When we all returned to our offices for work a few months ago, we were trying to gauge what kind of world we were going to face in that office. We all knew and hoped that this was a temporary phase and that it would eventually pass. Yet time has shown that the new normal is much more different than we thought. When we define the new normal, we now must label it a much more flexible and turbulent system. Social distancing and wearing masks are not sufficient by themselves. We need to take immediate action to make sure the distance between us does not become an ever-unbreachable chasm.

First, an assessment

Remote working had already become a substantial part of corporate culture at many parts of the globe. At those parts, the transition process during this phase was indeed slightly easier. Though the struggle at homes where the children stay at home instead of go to school daily should be assessed separately. Babysitters could not come to work, elderly relatives had to be isolated, spouses started working side by side. Despite all that, the ones who deem every location with their computer an office were no stranger to the home environment as their office. Ones in quarantine slowly but surely got used to the things they struggled with in the first months, in a way their struggles took on new forms. Once again, humanity successfully triumphed over this test for survival and found a way to adapt. Digitalization was achieved by and large. Meanwhile, the studies conducted during this time showed diverse results from country to country. I would like to draw your attention to the statistics I acquired from the website pazarlamasyon.

Positive results come first

  • 77% of remote working employees claim they are more productive when working from home. (CoSo Cloud)
  • 76% of employees prefer to avoid the office completely when they need to focus on an important project or deadline. (Atlassian)
  • 23% of remote working employees state they work longer hours at home than they would do at the field/office. (CoSo Cloud)
  • 53% of remote working employees claim that compared to when they worked at the office, the possibility of requesting time off or using sick days is much lower at home. (CoSo Cloud)
  • 43% of remote working employees take off three weeks or less time for paid leave in a year. (Buffer)
  • Employees with heavily complicated and difficult jobs that require minimum to no interaction with shareholders state that they are much more productive when they are away from the office. (Springer)
  • The first and foremost method of communication for remote working employees is e-mail, followed by texting and video calls. (CoSo Cloud)
  • Even though remote working allows the employee to work anywhere, 84% of employees choose to work from their homes. (Buffer)

Then come the worrying results:

  • More than half of remote workers state that their connection with other office employees has been severed. (CoSo Cloud)
  • 22% of remote working employees find that the biggest issue they face is stopping to think about work outside of their work shift. (Buffer)
  • 19% of remote workers report their biggest struggle to be loneliness. (Buffer)
  • Though they regularly receive confidential work data and information to their remote locations, only less than half of remote working employees claim they have received appropriate online safety training. (GetApp)

Assess needs

Before these trying times, we had small systems of spiritual nourishment we were barely conscious of, such as running into one another, touching without fear, having a drink together, enjoying that sense of getting lost in a crowd, comfortably being close to elders, enjoying time to oneself when all goes to school and work. These systems nourishment our souls. Even the energy from the person we make eye contact with in the elevator actually carried meaning in the ecological system. Now, we are deprived of most of these systems of nourishment or we are much less brave than before. We could say, “We are all on the same boat, somehow we are getting used to it and continue our day to day. Everyone will find their own ways to be well.” Unless you are an executive…

If you are an executive you must question a simple and clear question: is everyone doing well?

Is everyone truly doing well?

A study done by the Royal Institute of British Architects has been published by the BBC. The study claims that the stress levels of remote working employees are steadily rising. Similarly, there is a significant increase in the number of people who think they are in depression. Just because we are no longer under the same roof, is the happiness of remote working employees not your responsibility? Think again:

  • Remote working may not affect everyone the same way. While some may be content with their lives others may be more and more stressed. You must consider each person individually and specifically analyze their wellbeing.
  • The psychological and technical support systems, crisis management teams which we at the start were so heavily enthusiastic about now seem to have been slightly fractured… is it because we have gotten used to the struggle, because the struggle has evolved from crisis into the normal, or because we are tired of it? The answer to these questions is different for every individual, think carefully for yours.
  • As we stay at home and work from home, it has increasingly become harder to establish employee engagement. Employees newly starting work are trying to experience the excitement of entering a new environment and having one’s own desk through computer screens – when in fact how exciting and beautiful that day’s happiness is when one gets to meet their new space and the people in it!

These examples can be multiplied, as long as we stay with the individual, we find the way to meet and understand the individual though afar. Processes change, get redesigned, trends evolve, work methods diversify, this is normal. But when us executives manage to keep the individual at the center of attention, change is much easier to live through. Wouldn’t you say?

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow

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