New research hasrevealed low levels of trust among UK business leaders when it comes to their employees working remotely and from home.
The report* is based on a global survey of 900 business leaders and 1,800 knowledge workers. It assessed how organisations are adapting to new employee expectations of work, and how business leaders can ensure that they are doing enough to attract, retain, and engage their people. The research found that when implemented properly, hybrid work can lead to a more productive, healthy workforce.
Leaders lack trust
The past two years have highlighted the importance of empathetic, human centred leadership. Business leaders have been forced to trust employees even when they can’t see them, and employees have needed to trust their leaders to treat them fairly and sympathetically, as they navigate difficult situations such as home-schooling and sickness.
However, despite 67% of business leaders across multiple countries saying their organisation trusts its employees, and 76% of employees feeling trusted by their employer, half of business leaders believe that when employees are ‘out of sight’ of colleagues and management they do not work as hard, with this figure rising to 62% of UK business leaders. In fact almost half (48%) of business leaders say that they have installed monitoring software on their employees computers to check when they are working and what they are doing, and 32% say that they are considering doing so. This is because 36% of employers feel employees work harder if they are being monitored.
The research also found eight in 10 employees globally feel it is very important they can trust their employer to be transparent and honest with them, as well as treat them fairly and with respect. Over half (57%) of hybrid workers also flagged they trust their employer compared to 41% of office workers and 42% of remote workers.
“Leaders that trust their employees when it comes to hybrid work will undoubtedly see long-term advantages to the culture and productivity of their workplace,” said Mark Sweeney, regional vice president UK and Ireland, Citrix. “Technologies such as desktop as a service (DaaS) have given all companies the option to create a hybrid format that allows employees to work from where they are most productive, and decision makers need to realise that quite often that isn’t an office-based setting”.
“Workers that feel trusted by their managers also feel valued by their employers on the whole. Doubts and hesitancy from leaders shouldn’t creep in if organisations implement hybrid working scenarios in the right way,” Sweeney added. “It’s high time we embrace a new, flexible world of work focused on outcomes and productivity, rather than presenteeism.”
Compassion and empathy are key
When asked about leadership qualities, 72% of employees globally say that it is crucial they work in an organisation where the leadership and culture is empathetic and compassionate, and 70% say the experience of the pandemic has made it clear that empathy is a critical leadership quality.
Leaders also believe that their workforce needs to have these qualities: 60% of business leaders say that when deciding whether to award promotions, an employee’s empathy and emotional intelligence are as important as a technical skills and concrete achievements.
“It is clear from this research that both business leaders and their employees can reap the benefits of a working culture that puts flexibility first. Over the last two years we’ve all had to be patient with the challenges brought about by abrupt changes to our working lives; trust and compassion were integral to getting through the pandemic and I hope organisations can continue to foster a culture that is based on these principles,” Sweeney added.