With technology dominating the workplace more people are communicating through social channels rather than face to face. According to a study conducted by Olivet Nazarene University, The scales have tipped in virtual conversations vs face-to-face: employees have eight conversations in person a day compared to nine conversations through messaging platforms.
Virtual Conversations vs Face-to-Face
Among the 54% who use instant messaging platforms like Slack, half admit to using it more for socialization than is appropriate. One in five of these are quick to note that this habit does not inhibit productivity in the workplace. Relating to how it is used, 45% of employees believe messaging platforms are used for surveillance by their employers.
The rise of remote workers driven by communications technology is changing the meaning of the traditional workplace. Today two out of five employees work remotely as much as five times a month. Of those who work remotely 79% work from their home than compared to a coffee shop or a co-working space.
When remote workers are at home, they let their hair down. In fact, the popular choice of attire while working from home is casual (59%) while 18% say they wear the same thing as in the office. Another 25% an ambiguous answer, saying ‘In a way that I wouldn’t want anyone to see’.
The question is are they more productive?
Does Remote Work Increase Productivity?
The findings on whether remote working helps productivity are mixed. Some 67% of claim they are as productive working remotely as in their office.
They say the key to their productivity lies in having a quiet location to work from (35%). Others point to a dedicated office space (24%) and a comfortable chair or desk to get them cracking (22%).
However, 58% of remote workers say they’re less productive at home. To which 80% admit to multitasking by juggling laundry, family, or television with work. In terms of communicating with workers, remote working can lead to isolation. With 56 % saying they communicate less with their coworkers than they normally would.
On the downside 42% of respondents also say it is difficult to work with remote workers. Among the reasons cited include lack of availability of the staff when inputs from team members are required (42%). Weak collaboration comes in second at 25% followed by different time zones (20%).
Similarly, those that dislike working at the office say it is too noisy with 53 % of them regularly wearing headphones in the office. With almost half of them (40%) wearing earphones as long as 25%-50% of the time. Other factors include lack of privacy, visual distractions and little energy in the office.
Office Space in the Era of Remote Work
Design your Workspace Based on your Company’s Needs
In a bid to help boost productivity companies are looking into various office plans to accommodate both the needs of the company as well as the employees. They could vary from the home office, the virtual office, co-working spaces or even a mix of these.
The key is to help employees focus on bringing in their A-game without distractions. Technology can help in meeting some of your company’s needs as well as those of your employees. For example, investing in applications that help team members collaborate in real-time and track progress on projects can help navigate the challenges brought about by remote working.
Location, Location, Location
By commuting longer hours to come to the office your employees risk losing out on their personal life. Make sure the office is not located far for everyone. It is not always going to be possible to accommodate everyone, but you can implement a remote schedule into the mix to make it more manageable.
Your ideal location should be easy for your employees to commute, nearby gyms or a fair number of eateries in the area where your staff can enjoy. Always remember a happy workforce is a productive one.
Consult and Collaborate
If you want a successful workspace allow your staff a say on what the workplace should look like. If you are planning to move or remodel, make your staff part of the process. After all, they are going to be there at least 8 hours per day.
With their participation, you can provide a space where your staff is happy and they can work, think and collaborate naturally.
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I believe this wholeheartedly. Think of all the walking and moving around the office you’re saving by not having to engage people face-to-face?
However, on the downside, when talking in a digital setting I think people are more likely to be unkind because it somewhat dehumanizes the interaction.
We have the tools. So it is natural that it will be used instead. Face to face conversations take a lot of effort and time.