Working from home has become commonplace during the pandemic, but as more and more people are being vaccinated, many employers are keen to get their workforce back into the office. Many firms, including the likes of Goldman Sachs, have cited company culture and productivity as reasons to push for a return to office spaces.
Research by Opinion Matters for Ricoh Europe sought to find out why firms wanted this move by asking decision-making about their thoughts on the workforce. The study found that the time spent working from home has actually decreased employer’s trust in their staff.
Just 35% of employers trusted their staff to work from home; and 39% suggested that employees work more productively in offices.
With these figures in mind, it is easy to see why employers want staff to return to the office. Nonetheless, 42% of decision-makers claimed that their employees were concerned about coming back to the workplace.
In an effort to manage hybrid working, there is a desire to invest in monitoring technology. 57% of decision-makers believe that investing in flexible working technology is vital in attracting and keeping talent.
David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, also stated that the research shows that offices aren’t going anywhere.
In fact, he described the office as the “undisputed environment for optimal productivity, ideation, and developing relationships with colleagues.”
Despite this, Mills noted that “the challenge for business leaders is to remain mindful that remote and hybrid working are two different things.
“It stands to reason that less commuting, a greater sense of flexibility, and having the trust of your manager are significant contributing factors to a more empowered and inspired workforce. This puts the onus on leaders to make their hybrid work model as successful as possible.”
It is looking like a hybrid working environment is inevitable.
However, employers can invest in technology that enables them to see that their workforce is still hard at work.
This technology will typically bring peace of mind, as only 19% of employers involved in the Ricoh Europe study found that productivity had decreased as employees worked from home.
While monitoring technology may be a solution, any monitoring of the workforce must be done with its consent and knowledge. Shockingly, almost half of monitoring tools and employees are without their knowledge.
Fortunately, plenty of applications are transparent with users and lets company heads see what apps are used while getting insight into time management.
One example is Timely, which gives businesses the ability to track how much time has been spent on an application or task. The company states “Timely can track time spent in every web and desktop app automatically for you.” This helps to reduce the time spent checking on the productivity of workers.
Wayne Pisani, head of regulatory and compliance at accounting firm Grant Norton noted that “Timely is integrated into our Office 365 services, allowing each employee to automatically track the time they spend on different activities without taking any notes or needing to remember work after the fact.”
Additionally, the likes of Rescue Time give employers the chance to see the most frequently used applications and offers coaching for staff.
Its focus on individuals and the work-life balance of each employee has led to the software being adopted by over 2 million users and it being listed by Forbes.