- “Damaging habits” brought over from office life are hurting productivity and costing employees work time, according to a July 19 report from GitLab and Qatalog, a work management software company.
- More than half of knowledge workers surveyed said they feel pressure to be seen as “visibly online,” spending an additional 67 minutes a day sending or replying to emails and messages, joining team calls or updating project tools in order to show themselves as “present.”
- That pressure likely comes from the top, the report said; 63% of workers surveyed said they believe management prefers “a traditional culture with employees in the office” and 54% said their colleagues are stuck in old habits.
The pandemic has forced employers to reconsider how they measure productivity. Some employers have made strides in this area; a Robert Half survey published earlier this month showed that 66% of workers surveyed said they felt their boss cared more about how they are contributing rather than when and where they work.
Employers that don’t pay attention to this issue could risk higher turnover. Various studies have shown that employees are willing to quit over a lack of flexibility; one survey from GoodFirms published at the end of 2021 found that 70% of HR managers pointed to flexibility concerns as a reason for resignations — the most cited cause in the survey.
But adjusting to a distributed work style isn’t always easy for teams. Notification fatigue is a real problem for knowledge workers in a distributed environment, Asana’s 2022 Anatomy of Work Report suggested. About two-thirds of U.S. workers surveyed said they check their email outside of work hours and 62% said they feel pressured to respond right away — something that could be solved through more efficient meetings and clearer communication around responsibilities, respondents said.
Employers may naturally be worried about productivity when employees work out of managers’ sight. And while certain forms of employee surveillance are legal, too much could damage retention, according to a report published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Council. That means HR may need to focus on shaping manager training to accommodate the cultural shift that remote work requires.