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Survey shows that businesses can operate ‘surprisingly well’ in a virtual or hybrid work setting

An international Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey on employee sentiment reveals that productivity can be maintained surprisingly well in a virtual or hybrid work setting.

The survey, conducted in the US, Germany, and India, also shows that there is significant appetite for flexible ways of working among employees, as well as increased openness to this from managers.

Despite both the speed of the shift to remote working and its scale (the survey found the pandemic forced employers to move about 40 percent of employees to remote working), some 75 percent of employees said that during the first few months of the crisis, they have in fact been able to maintain or improve their perceived productivity on individual tasks (such as analyzing data, writing presentations, or executing administrative tasks).

While employees were working on collaborative tasks (such as exchanges with coworkers, working in teams, or interacting with clients), the number was lower, though still more than half (51 percent) of all respondents said they have been able to maintain or improve their productivity. This applies across geographic areas and both to employees working remotely and to those onsite.

When analyzing the data, BCG found four factors that correlate with employees reporting continued or even enhanced productivity on collaborative tasks: social connectivity, mental health, physical health, and workplace tools.

Of these, social connectivity emerged as the most powerful force. Respondents who reported satisfaction with social connectivity with colleagues are two to three times more likely to maintain or improve their productivity on collaborative tasks as those who are dissatisfied with this (for mental and physical health and workplace tools, it is about twice as likely).

And employees who experience satisfaction or doing better on all four factors are almost five times as likely to say they have felt able to maintain or improve productivity on collaborative tasks as those who are dissatisfied or doing worse on at least three factors.

The BCG employee sentiment survey ran from the end of May through mid-June. It surveyed more than 12,000 professionals employed before and during COVID-19 in the US, Germany, and India. These employees work in roles such as analysts, engineers, HR personnel, teachers, and health care providers (but not jobs that must be performed onsite such as cashiers or assembly line workers). The survey explored their attitudes toward flexibility, their relative productivity on various tasks (individual, collaborative, and managerial), their well-being, career security, social connectivity, culture, learning and development, and the work tools they use.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.



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