I’m not sure where I ran across this report from Interact Authentically, Disengagement and Separation of the Virtual Worker. But I’m glad I found it. What actually caught my eye as I was reading it, were the last two sentences:
“We cannot forget our most basic core goal in business: to create connections and relationships. Today’s frontier is not the technology required to run a global company – it is applying technology while bringing along the nurturing, engaging aspect of human communication.”
The report, published in January, analyzes a survey conducted by Harris Interactive among 2,026 adults over 17 years old in the United States. Here’s an interesting data point that may interest you: nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. employees report that they ever work virtually. Surprised? I was. Given the heated discussions about the lack of workplace flexibility and work/life integration, that’s a lot of people with at least some flexibility. And over two-thirds of those folks think their management needs to communicate better in order to keep them engaged.
Other findings of note:
The message seems clear – flexibility to work from home isn’t enough for employees. They still need to feel the love from their bosses. In fact, working from home requires managers to do more to keep their employees feeling engaged and that they have a human, real relationship with the organization, their work, and their boss.
Certainly not rocket science. But a good reminder that the big challenge isn’t finding the right technology to enable more flexible work arrangements. The big challenge is keeping the humanity flowing when employees are isolated from their colleagues and bosses.
Here’s a thought: maybe Marissa Mayer wasn’t crazy after all!