Employee productivity is management’s top concern during the pandemic, but remote workers don’t see it the same way. Adding to remote workers confusion, nearly half of C-Suite leaders have refused to play by their own rules when coping with the pandemic. That’s the story from a survey commissioned by Lucidspark, where remote workers tell it like it is. And C-suite executives are challenging transparency and trust by violating their own rules, based on self-reported data.
According to 75% of remote workers, leaders shouldn’t be concerned about productivity. There’s something more important – something that ranks higher as a concern when working from home. Can you guess what it is? And why are C-level execs willing to gamble with their own policies, at the risk of spreading mistrust within the remote workforce?
- The Collapse of Collaboration – for 3/4 of remote employees, the ability to interact in a meaningful way has been a top concern while working from home. Nearly one in four (23%) said that virtual meetings weren’t adequate, and nearly the same number expressed concern that working from home has hurt their creativity. 46% of respondents cite a lack of face to face interaction as the chief culprit. When asked what would be best about returning to the office, survey respondents mentioned camaraderie as the top perk, for nearly 40% of responses.
- Zoom Fatigue Causing Teams to Tune Out – Livestream events are losing steam, according to a recent survey from AnyClip. While the stock price of Zoom jumped a whopping 88% in Q3, participants are less bullish on live events. In this survey, 74% of respondents reported watching less than 3/4 of the content, and 43% of attendees said they watch less than half. In contrast, attendance at virtual events is up by nearly 2/3 versus pre-COVID times. Attending more but watching less: why? Because online is the only game in town. Gil Becker is CEO at AnyClip, and he shares, “We are all multi-tasking, all the time. Virtual events, much like television programming in the early 2000’s, need to adapt to this reality.” The way workers are adapting? Asynchronously. And begrudgingly. Especially when 37% of remote workers say that constant notifications from collaboration tools are disrupting their creativity.
- Don’t Look Now, It’s The C-suite Shift – while 90% o C-level execs say that productivity is a top concern, nearly half have taken matters into their own hands regarding collaboration. In direct violation of pandemic protocols – the ones established by company leadership – 43% of remote C-Suite leaders report meeting with colleagues in person. Notably, the survey doesn’t describe what safety precautions were in place for such meetings. (Only 17% of remote workers report taking the same action). Nevertheless, what happens when leaders don’t abide by the rules they have established? The leadership challenge that’s created is one that you remember from your childhood. It’s called “Do as I say, not as I do.” Without transparency, leaders risk a fundamental aspect of collaboration: trust. More specifically, the ability to trust in the policies of the leaders who set them. Perhaps these leaders were socially distant and careful as they reversed their own policies, who knows? The US has adopted a “situational ethics” approach to science during the pandemic; is integrity a moving target as well? Are leaders concerned about creating a lack of trust? Is that something your organization wants to spread?
- Turn up the Trust – In the Netflix docuseries, The Last Dance, Michael Jordan explained why he was so hard on his teammates: he wanted to win. And sometimes that caused a conflict. “Let’s not get it wrong,” former Bulls teammate, Will Perdue, says on camera. “He was an a-hole.” In his defense, Jordan says that anyone – anyone – knew he wouldn’t ask someone to do something he wasn’t willing to do. In effect, Jordan was saying, “I’ll do it. I’ll make the sacrifice. I’ll do what it takes. Will you?” Technology isn’t the only thing that impedes collaboration. What you ask of remote workers is what you have to ask of yourself, if you want more from your team.
For leaders and remote workers today, the challenges of working from home are many. It’s easy to see that too much screen time is driving people to distraction. We all crave collaboration – but at what cost? Beyond curtailed collaboration, there’s no quarantine on integrity. Making sure that you do what you say, and that you’re willing to do what you ask others to do, is a timeless leadership legacy. Don’t sacrifice trust to the coronavirus. Smart C-Suite leaders create collaboration based on transparency, no matter what the circumstances. That’s a strategy that goes beyond the survey. Hopefully, our leadership values won’t be yet another casualty of these strange times.