While questions linger as to what the ideal working structure should look like, there can be no doubt that the future of work is hybrid. The pandemic has radically altered perceptions of what businesses can or can’t achieve online, valid for employers and employees alike.
According to ActiveOps, a leading provider of digital operations management solutions, the ability to provide this flexibility is fast becoming a matter of survival for organisations as the war for (remote) talent intensifies. Indeed, with research revealing that over 40 percent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year, companies are under increasing pressure to introduce hybrid working to remain attractive as an employer – while at the same time achieving high levels of productivity and performance as economies recover.
Richard Jeffery, Group CEO, ActiveOps, stated: “At least in the short term, one of the significant challenges that organisations are facing is the combined effects of burnout, digital fatigue, and poor mental health. Countless studies point to dangerously high levels of burnout and stress, with employees reporting that they are feeling more and more disconnected from managers and colleagues.
“The good news is that many leaders are recognising that a successful hybrid workplace will require a renewed focus on building and maintaining a strong and supportive company culture – while placing new tools, methods, and metrics in place that prioritize both productivity and wellbeing.”
To make hybrid working a viable and long-term prospect, organisations must build a more robust and dynamic link between employee productivity, performance, and wellbeing. In creating this link, leaders will also have to redefine what productivity means in a hybrid world – recognising that volumes of work or hours logged can no longer be seen as productivity and be measured as such.
“Employers will also need to provide employees with new tools, information, and methods that empower them to succeed. Given the reduced in-person interactions and drastically reduced managerial visibility daily, these tools will need to take their cue from real-time and historical employee data. Once the company has established this data flow, the next step will be to overlay the employee data with operational and change management expertise to provide the most value to employees and to the organisation itself,” continued Jeffery.
Today, many companies are drawing their data from traditional employee productivity monitoring (EPM) technology – and attempting to make operational decisions based on an inadequate view of what is truly going on. Moreover, when deploying this technology, employers must strike a delicate balance between employee surveillance and supportive EPM.
Fortunately, the emergence of ethical EPM (paired with advanced technology) places far less emphasis on surveillance – seeking instead to empower employees with information that helps them be more focused and intentional in their work.
“In short, ethical and effective EPM turns employee behaviours into a measurable source of information by drawing on accurate, real-time data. This data shows employees, managers, and the organisation how an individual spends their screen time and how productive they’ve been so that they can adapt what isn’t working to be more intentional; not so they can punish those who aren’t working'” added Jeffery.
One of the significant challenges for companies looking to embrace ethical employee productivity monitoring and performance benchmarking is that few EPM tools can handle the various technical requirements for capturing thousands of employee workstations simultaneously.
“However, that’s exactly what an organisation now requires unveiling real insights and implement operational changes that promote both cultural and performance consistency in a hybrid world. Many leaders will also recognise that capturing data at the aggregate and individual levels in real-time can enable an organisation to uncover bigger, company-wide trends that can drive overall business efficiency. In a global business environment that is both highly competitive and relentlessly volatile, access to real-time performance data – or a lack of access to that data – will ultimately make or break organisations,” concluded Jeffery.