Since the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely has become the new normal for many professionals. The workplace has shifted from open floor plans to kitchen tables; video calls have replaced meetings in conference rooms, and dressing in sweats has become our business casual uniform of choice.
TechRepublic Premium recently surveyed 847 professionals and asked them questions pertaining to working remotely to see where businesses got it right–and wrong.
The survey asked the following questions:
How many days do you currently work remotely (at home or at a non-company- owned location) during a normal five-day workweek?
How would you describe your company’s execution of its current remote work approach?
What safety protocols has your company implemented for the office?
What has your company done well as part of its remote work approach?
What has your company done poorly as part of its remote work approach?
What types of platforms have you depended on the most for remote work?
How have you changed your connectivity to make working from home possible?
As a result of COVID-19, a majority (61%) of businesses have gone out of their way to make remote work possible for most employees. According to respondents, 78% indicated that they are working from home five days a week. Five percent work remotely for either four or three days a week, 4% work remotely two days a week, and 2% of respondents work remotely one day a week. Only 6% said they do not work remotely; of those respondents, 61% would work remotely, if given the opportunity.
The majority (96%) of respondents said their company either very successfully or successfully executed its remote work approach. Some of the top ways employers are making it easier for employees to work remotely is by providing conferencing tools (81%), computer hardware (74%), and connectivity tools such as VPN or cellular devices (73%).
This is a good thing since 80% of respondents reported depending on video conferencing platforms (such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams) for remote work. Cloud-based office suites for collaboration (such as Google Workspace or Office 365) are necessary for 63% of respondents to work remotely, and for 57%, VPN is essential.
Cloud storage followed as a necessity for 46% of respondents, and then respondents listed team tools (such as Slack) at 33%. Fewer respondents require project management tools (13%), private cloud solutions (7%), and team management tools (5%).
Where employers fall short, according to respondents, is supplying hardware (56%) and providing equipment to help employees create an effective remote workspace (52%). In addition, 37% of respondents reported that their company is doing a poor job with their remote work approach with video conferencing tools, virtual collaboration tools, manager training, and HR resources.
Interestingly, 75% of respondents reported not needing to change their connectivity to make working from home possible. However, 7% of respondents have added a mesh network or purchased a Wi-FI hotspot to use as a backup, and 5% either switched providers or replaced consumer-grade network hardware with something more secure.
COVID-19 has impacted global organizations and their workforces in profound ways. Seemingly overnight, changes in supply and demand for products and services have significantly affected workforce strategies. At the same time, organizations have made necessary but challenging shifts to fully remote working. These and other pandemic-related shifts have forced leaders to challenge their assumptions about work, workforce and workplace and to create new solutions that break down silos to tap into the full power and potential of their existing workforces.
MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s 2020 Future of the Workforce Global Executive Study found that prior to the pandemic, only 34% of surveyed workers were satisfied with their organization’s investment in their skills development. Our research suggests that the organizations with the most effective approaches to skills development consistently found ways to provide greater access to and transparency into opportunity for their workforce.
In other words, to engage workers where their skills are needed most, organizations should invest in talent “opportunity marketplaces.”Building on the idea of a traditional marketplace where individuals come to buy and sell goods or services, the goal of a talent opportunity marketplace is to match worker skills to available work. From a workforce perspective, that means giving talent access to new internal opportunities that contribute to their personal growth and development.
From a manager and organizational perspective, that means moving talent where you need it, when you need it, for greater organizational agility. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for many organizations on why this type of ongoing investment is so important to avoid getting caught flat-footed in the future.
For example, during the pandemic, a health care organization with a network of hospitals around the US was able to use its talent marketplace to shift local capacity to a cross-system staffing network in order to centrally manage staffing as talent needs shifted dramatically across the health system and to different locations/regions.
Opportunity marketplaces provide a platform to think about work beyond the confines of an individual’s role and match workers with internal opportunities for project work on top of their current role or new roles all together, accelerating redeployment processes to get people aligned with work where the organization is seeing strategic demands and to add a human-centered approach to using existing workforce skills from areas of the business that may not be seeing as much demand. During the pandemic, organizations that deploy opportunity marketplaces have been able to stand up call centers, shift supply chains, and assemble emergency response teams, all while tapping into existing talent – effectively breaking down individual, team, business line, and location boundaries.
Opportunity marketplaces, by design, enable greater autonomy for workers and transparency into talent processes, which allows workers more equal access to different types of work, new teams, new leaders, and new locations. These marketplaces can have multiple benefits for organizations beyond the pandemic, including:
At the individual level, work doesn’t have to be confined to a role and traditional working hours. Opportunities found on the marketplace can be shorter-term or one-off projects outside the confines of a traditional role, allowing workers to take on projects that can be done alongside their current roles with a focus on outcomes rather than hours.
Workers can bring back new capabilities and skills to their teams by working on projects outside of their traditional roles. These can be “hard” skills, such as computer science or data analysis, as well as “soft” skills like communications or problem solving, allowing organizations to increase hidden productivity within the workforce. As organizations work through their human and machine teaming strategies, building up enduring capabilities for human workers will be increasingly important.
In terms of increasing inclusion within leadership roles or in succession planning, opportunity marketplaces can be used by organizations to identify rising talent based solely on their skills rather than their relationships or personal network.
For organizations that are planning to use a remote working model for the near and longer terms (as we’ve recently seen with many of the world’s largest technology companies), opportunity marketplaces can extend talent supply matching opportunity to demand across global locations.
The pandemic has given leaders a peek into the potential that opportunity marketplaces present for talent management, career mobility, and the future of work. By fully embracing opportunity marketplaces now, these leaders can build up their organizations’ resiliency for future disruptive events while keeping their workers happy.
Steve Hatfield is a Principal with Deloitte Consulting and serves as the Global Leader for Future of Work for Deloitte. He has over 20 years of experience advising global organizations on issues of strategy, innovation, organization, people, culture, and change. This message (including any attachments) contains confidential information intended for a specific individual and purpose, and is protected by law. If you are not the intended recipient, you should delete this message and any disclosure, copying, or distribution of this message, or the taking of any action based on it, by you is strictly prohibited. Deloitte refers to a Deloitte member firm, one of its related entities, or Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”). Each Deloitte member firm is a separate legal entity and a member of DTTL. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see http://www.deloitte.com/about to learn more.
– 40% of workplace stress is due to workload + 1 in 4 workers feel burnout most of the time. – more than 25% of the reasons projects fail is due to poor workforce management – 10 -15% of world’s GDP is lost from poor workplace wellbeing and health! Resro.OPT compares the potential of Workforce Planning with the intent Workforce Allocation.