Many firms have no leadership to handle remote work: Report

(IANS) Despite most employees saying they are more productive from home, companies still don’t have the leadership and management experience to handle remote work, so this remains a challenge going into 2021, especially as enterprises start to bring people back to the office, a new report has emphasised.

How will managers ensure that remote and office workers are treated equally, given access to projects, promotions, and other opportunities?

“Companies also still have doubts as to whether they can innovate in a remote work model. The prevailing wisdom is that innovation slows down with remote working, but that’s not necessarily true,” said Forrester analyst Andrew Hewitt.

“If organisations don’t provide enough resources for employees to innovate, then yes, innovation will suffer, but a fully-developed anywhere work strategy makes room and prioritises innovation,” he said in a statement.

According to principal Forrester analyst Katy Tynan, the shift to remote working will at some point begin to shift back towards a more hybrid approach.

“Leaders at all levels are just settling in to understanding how to lead and engage teams in a fully remote environment, and the new hybrid model will be different from what they are used to now, as well as different from what they were doing before,” Tynan explained.

The organisations will need to focus on their frontline leaders and craft an intentional strategy in order to successfully navigate that transition.

While the overall experience with remote work has been positive, many stigmas and challenges related to remote work still persist.

Principal analyst David Johnson said that the strongest predictor of burnout in the data is lack of recognition for hard work and accomplishment, and the second strongest is organisational changes that affect employees have them feeling down.

“Working remotely makes both of those things worse as it’s harder for employees to feel uniquely seen and valued for their contributions, and remote workers are also more likely to feel less visible and under-represented in organisational changes, relative to their office-based counterparts,” Johnson said.

There are a number of key priorities for organisations this year.

The first and foremost is rethinking how they use office space.

“Will they bring people back en masse? Will it be a hybrid scenario, and if so, should they decrease real estate and invest in new layouts like hot desking?”

Secondly, they’re thinking through the ramifications of a hybrid workforce, specifically what level of investment they should make to reimburse or provide a stipend for full-time remote workers, and whether that is different from a hybrid worker.

“Companies are starting to prioritise technology investments like Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), modern device management, and mobility tools to enable employees to work from anywhere. At the same time, they’re also trying to improve collaboration capabilities with tools like digital whiteboarding,” Hewitt noted.

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