How and where people work had been steadily changing for years before the pandemic changed it forever. Companies are adapting seemingly overnight to the “now normal” of a work-anywhere world that includes more remote staff, hybrid offices and copious new technology tools, to name just a few of the changes.
This unprecedented workplace disruption presents new challenges for business leaders, but also new opportunities as well, as we outline in our Work Anywhere series. Amid all of this change, the one constant is that people remain the No. 1 asset of every company, of course. But business leaders need to rethink how they manage their increasingly dispersed and remote people while maintaining a strong sense of culture, collaboration, and connectivity.
Our Work Anywhere insights are drawn from helping clients with this transition, speaking with industry leaders, and using our own experiences in workplace upheaval. We’ve established a collection of considerations to help companies continue to respond, adapt, and progress in a remote and digital environment, with a focus on issues unique to specific groups as well as the enterprise as a whole.
Here’s a look at the “People,” and some considerations around productivity, culture, and security.
In a recent KPMG survey, 70% of U.S. employees reported that they felt more productive working from home than in an office. But in another of our surveys, HR executives rated managing performance and productivity in a remote environment as a critical new need.
Clearly, the traditional methods of measuring productivity no longer apply—and may have been faulty to begin with. “Participation metrics,” such as the number of emails sent or hours worked, often aren’t true measures of productivity.
Instead, HR and business leaders have an opportunity now to redefine productivity and how they measure performance, starting with a re-examination of four key components that drive effectiveness:
Innovation—the creativity that sparks new ideas and inspires others
Execution—the accountability that improves products and services
Processes—the management of controls and technologies that support the delivery of results
People—the ways of working that empower individuals and encourage collaboration
Together, these factors will inform the related management, analytics and behavior change that impact productivity. For example, a company that focuses on effort (execution) but whiffs on filling the related technology needs (processes) risks simply “throwing people at the problem”—increasing people’s level of effort but decreasing their productivity.
Leadership approaches will need to evolve as well. For example, keeping communication lines open through frequent check-ins and pulse surveys will enable management to effectively evaluate their virtual staff’s skills and productivity while also supporting their needs and reinforcing appreciation of their work. Employees who feel appreciated engage more fully and feel more a part of the organization’s broader mission.