The pandemic has affected employee productivity. According to a study by Personio, which surveyed 2,000 UK and Irish employees, while 31% have found working from home to be good for their focus and motivation, 28% have found the pandemic has made them less productive.
However, of the 500 HR leaders surveyed by Personio, 52% said employee productivity had increased, while 33% acknowledged it had fallen, therefore making it clear that HR teams are not fully recognizing the struggles employees are facing with regard to wellbeing and burnout.
They also disagree about the reasons why employees feel unproductive. HR leaders are more likely to believe it is external factors, like homeschooling, that are driving the productivity drought.
Whereas for employees they feel it is all to do with their lack of motivation and morale (28%) and inability to switch off from work (22%).
It is clear that employees feel particularly overwhelmed by the number of digital tools that are used in the remote world of work. They are experiencing a so-called ‘fragmentation frustration’ from using disconnected, soiled digital tools; most organizations are relying on at least six tools.
Personio’s survey noted that 37% reported there were too many tools and 36% said that working across all these different tools was hampering their workflow.
The disconnect between employee experience in the workplace and HR leaders’ perspective is even more clear in the fact that for 58% of employees work life balance is a top priority at work, whereas only 25% of HR leaders said that employee wellbeing initiatives would be the top priority over the next year.
This means that companies “could be sleepwalking towards a talent exodus, damaged employer brand and a productivity drought,” according to Personio.
In terms of a possible talent exodus, employees surveyed by Personio are clear that a declining work-life balance would encourage them to look for a new job (23%).
While HR leaders acknowledge the role that a declining work-life balance might have on a talent exodus, they do not recognize that a toxic workplace culture also has a crucial role to play in worsening employee wellbeing.
According to Personio’s survey, only 12% of HR leaders thought a toxic workplace culture would encourage employees to look for a new job, whereas this rises to 21% for employees.
Personio chief people officer Ross Seychell noted: “After what has been a very difficult period for employees and businesses alike, these findings highlight how important it is for businesses to prioritize their people’s wellbeing, together with their company’s overall culture.
“Indeed, as we begin to put the worst of the pandemic behind us, employees will once again feel empowered to assess their employment options and look elsewhere if they feel unsatisfied – whether because they’re burned out, or they don’t feel appreciated.
“The bottom line is that if businesses fail to implement a holistic people strategy that really places all aspects of employee wellbeing at its heart, particularly at this critical juncture, they will face the consequences of employee burnout, discontentment, and in the worst of cases, an exodus of valuable talent – and resulting productivity dive”.