A new survey from Workplace by Facebook reveals the disconnect which exists between employees who work inside company headquarters and outside of HQ.
Remote Workers Feel Disconnected
According to the report from the survey, the disconnect  is preventing good ideas from rising through the business. This the report says is limiting innovation and stopping special talent from being recognized.
Titled, “Deskless not Voiceless: Communication Works ” the report is an investigation into the way workers communicate. And the lack of communication which exists is leaving employees not valued or listened to. Both of which the report says leaves a “Risk of quitting lingering close by.”
Adding, “Workers need effective ways to spread information, ideas and best practices in order to perform their best and enjoy work. Unfortunately, many workplaces are not living up to this ideal.”
Although the survey was carried out with the participation of companies of more than 100 employees, the insights can easily be applied by small businesses. The reason is more small businesses are using remote workers as part of their workforce.
If as a small business owner you can’t identify these issues and fix them, you won’t be able to optimize the full potential of your remote workforce.
The Remote Workforce
More and more employees are working remotely, and the number of companies which are allowing their workers to do so is also increasing. Almost 3 in 4 or 73%  of all small business teams will have remote workers by 2028. The numbers are heading in that direction for large enterprises also.
For small businesses, accessing freelance talent is making it possible to go after new markets and growth opportunities. But as the Workplace by Facebook report points out, businesses have to make remote workers feel part of the process. Even if it is a one-off project, you can get more out of each worker if they have a vested interest.
In the report, Facebook says, “Your employees may be deskless, but should not be voiceless.” Giving them voice requires effective ways to spread information, ideas and best practices. With that in place, everyone can perform at their best while enjoying the work they do.
It all starts with communication. In the survey, 17% said they never speak with their head office. And ironically enough the figure falls to 8% in organizations which use collaboration tools. And in 28% of cases, poor communication is responsible for stifling ideas. However, they are connecting with their co-workers.
While 86% feel this connection with their co-workers, it plummets to 14% when it comes to connecting with company HQ. In the C-Suite, it is even more abysmal as only 3% of employees feel connected to anyone there.
There is a huge downside to this. This is because only 22% of employees said their ideas make up a substantial portion of conversations with their bosses. Again, this contradicts another data point which says 98% of leaders agree ideas should come from everyone.
The result is employees who don’t feel valued, and in the survey, 54% say they are voiceless. This points to a lack of effective communication at a time when there are more communication tools than ever.
Changing How Businesses Communicate
According to the survey, businesses have to change how they communicate. And more business leaders are recognizing the value of collaboration tools. But there is a huge gap between recognizing this fact and using the technology.
While almost all or 95% of the leaders have identified the need for collaboration tools, only 56% currently use them.
In companies where collaboration tools are part of the organization, 63% of employees said their head office understands them. It goes down to 43% for businesses without collaboration tools.
On the Workplace blog about the survey, Karandeep Anand, rightfully says , “Closing this gap won’t be easy. There’s a clear need for spaces where people can share their experiences – good or bad – with each other and with senior teams.” This goes for small business owners too.
The survey was conducted in the U.S. and the U.K. with the participation of 4,000 individuals. The groups were split into 2,000 senior decision makers and 2,000 front-line workers.