58% industry leaders grappling with remote management of teams and 50% having concerns around data security
Even though employees and employers have apprehensions while navigating through the COVID-19 lockdown, they are unitedly moving together to ensure business continuity with minimal impact to their customers. Firms have quickly adopted newer agile ways of working and are ensuring effective and transparent communication with employees.
24th April, Mumbai: India Inc has been working from home for over 25 days now due to the pan-India lockdown enforced by the government as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Feedback Insights, a Bangalore based research firm, conducted a survey to gauge the impact of working remotely.
Between April 1st – 19th, 2020, over 550 respondents, including 450 employees and 100 business leaders participated in the survey which was conducted across 18 sectors including auto components, chemical, construction, consumer durables, glass, electrical, electronics, packaging, logistics, machine tools, information technology & other services organizations.
The report highlights productivity levels of employees, communication between employees and employee concerns as 3 essential aspects impacting remote working.
The report revealed that, with regards to productivity, on an average, employees believe productivity is around 78%. However, business leaders are more conservative, pegging employee productivity around 65%.
As we gradually increase the adoption of communication tools and collaboration platforms for working, 73% leaders have noted that emails and phone calls are still the primary mode for communication. Usage of collaboration platforms at 40%, is more prevalent in industries such as the auto industry, IT services and certain teams in manufacturing organizations.
To cope with the challenges of working remotely, teams have adopted a more agile style of working (43%) and are rigorous in conducting daily standups, splitting of tasks into smaller manageable subtasks etc. Teams also are making it a point to interact more often (35%) through leveraging communication and collaboration platforms.
Around 65% employees are concerned about personal well-being; a lack of connectedness with the team and an overall anxiety about the job environment. Also, network issues (56%) and frequent distractions at home (47%) are the other key challenges faced by employees. Business leaders (58%) indicated managing teams remotely to be their biggest challenge owing to the cultural change of working remotely. 50% of business leaders have also indicated data security and regulations to be a major area of concern.
47% of leaders believe that, to allay any concerns and to work around the issues while working remotely, an emphasis on positive/consistent communication is essential. 27% Leaders indicate that adoption of collaboration tools is imperative for firms in engaging and coaching employees.
A transparent leadership communication and effective employee engagement activities are some of the key tasks that employees have from their firms, primarily driven by the lack of a physical connection with team members/firm and also the business uncertainty prevalent in the current context. Employees also see the need for software which is optimized for lower band widths to enable them to work seamlessly given the band width issues faced in India.
More than half the leaders (53%) believe that employees should focus on the future: upskill themselves keeping in mind changing business trends as well as work on planning their teams’ approach for the future, given the possible business changes post the lockdown.
32% leaders strongly believe that going forward, firms should channel their efforts in redefining themselves in this changing scenario and rejig their strategy accordingly. The other top priorities would be to ensure that employees are future ready through employee training and upskilling (24%) and maintain employee morale and well-being (16%).
§ Employees indicate that their productivity has reduced to 78% while business leaders view current productivity at 65%
§ Email and telephonic communication are the primary mode of communication (73%) followed by Communication software (53%) with number of firms now investing in communication / collaboration platforms or using WhatsApp groups within teams
§ Employees report personal well-being is a major issue (65%) i.e. (Anxiety on the role going forward, lack of connectedness are some key concerns)
§ Top issues indicated by leaders are people management (58%) (managing people remotely, supervision issues) and data security issues highlighted by 50% of leaders.
§ Enhanced Agility in the way of working (43%) – Rigor around planning and tracking tasks, sub tasks, daily stand ups to ensure that employees are productive, leveraging the power of Collaboration tools to keep in constant touch (35%) with team members
§ Leaders indicate positive and consistent communication (47%) is need of the hour, as well as adoption of communication tools (27%)
§ Communication from Senior Leadership (31%) i.e. E-town halls to be kept in the loop on the way forward + Engagement Activities (25%) (Casual team meetings, events or virtual coffee breaks) are key asks from employees
§ Leaders believe employees should lay more emphasis on upskilling themselves (53%) keeping in mind the future company goals & use the time to plan for the future post lockdown (24%)
§ Leaders believe firms should invest in competency building (24%) and reconsidering business strategy (32%) to tackle such issues and plan for the future