The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Saturday, 15 August

Research Shows Risks Of COVID-19 Home Working Revolution

Research Shows Risks Of COVID-19 Home Working Revolution
17 June 2020
 

In a study conducted on behalf of the Advance Workplace Institute (AWI), trust, social cohesion and information sharing are all elements vulnerable to damage during home working.

The study warns that without active management to respond to changes in working, team dynamics are at risk with a knock-on effect on both employee happiness and performance.

The AWI partnered with the Centre for Evidence Based Management, a global network of academics, to analyse all the relevant research. It studied 35 primary studies and ten meta-analyses (which themselves drew on 715 original studies) to produce a report, “Managing The Virtual Workforce.”

“Virtual working is here to stay, and this brings serious challenges for managing the modern workforce,” says Andrew Mawson of Advanced Workplace Associates, the consultancy which founded the AWI.

 

“The role of leadership is about creating the conditions for growth and directing the energy. When we are working in a more virtualised model, old models become more difficult and we need new understandings and practices to deliver success in a virtualised world.”

–Andrew Mawson

Owner, Advanced Workplace Associates

 

Social Cohesion, Trust And Communication

 

The report has six main conclusions:

 

  • Working apart impacts team dynamics, the frequency and quality of communications, levels of consensus and conflict, and the amount and quality of social interaction. All of these impact the performance of teams and the outcomes they generate
  • Successful virtual working requires an understanding of the differences that people experience, compared to being co-located. To avoid damage to team and community performance, people need to respond to the differences and find alternative ways to operate
  • Effective virtual teams are determined by the strength of their social and cognitive states – i.e. the degree to which they are socially cohesive, trust each other, operate within a psychologically safe climate and share skills, experience and knowledge freely
  • While all factors interconnect, trust and communication lie at the foundation of cohesion, supervision, communication, the sharing of skills and knowledge, work relationships and the performance of virtual teams
  • Trust, social cohesion and information sharing seem to be the most potentially vulnerable to damage when people work virtually and must be consciously understood and actively managed – they can’t be left to chance
  • In virtual teams there is potential for everyone to be a leader – home-based employees respond well to more transformational management styles. This involves creating a strong team structure, empowering and guiding the team, involving them in the development of group goals and supporting them in actively reflecting on decision making and outcomes

 

Members of the AWI have noted that organisations globally have adapted quickly to the need for the vast majority of their workforces to operate from home. However, they warn that these are early days in the workplace revolution, and that management strategies will need to change to ensure teams can work as well virtually as they did in a single office.

“Organisations increasingly need to harness their knowledge resources as opposed to controlling and ‘managing’ them,” added Andrew Mawson. 

“The role of leadership is about creating the conditions for growth and directing the energy. When we are working in a more virtualised model, old models become more difficult and we need new understandings and practices to deliver success in a virtualised world.”

Picture: A photograph of a person working from home at a dining table. The person photographed is a wheelchair-user.

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 17 June 2020

Share



Related Articles

Lone Working, Mental Health and Guidance For Employers

SOCOTEC, a UK provider of testing, inspection and compliance services is providing advice for employers on the recently updated HSE guidance document on lone...

 Read Full Article
60 Per Cent Of People Want to Continue Working From Home

In a survey of 447 workers, 60 per cent said they’d prefer to work from home, even post-lockdown. COVID-19 has forced businesses across the globe to work...

 Read Full Article
Thermal Temperature Monitoring Keeping Key Workers Safe

The ability to monitor employees’ temperatures using contactless technology is helping to keep essential industries operating safely through the COVID-19...

 Read Full Article
CICV Forum Animations Remind Construction Workers to be COVID-19 Smart

Using two animations, the Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum is calling on staff to persist in safeguarding colleagues by following physical distancing...

 Read Full Article
Over 1,500 Key Workers Took up Europcar Rentals During Lockdown

Critical workers such as NHS, fire and police staff, teachers, carers and volunteer responders rented vehicles during the height of Britain’s lockdown. Europcar...

 Read Full Article
Study Shows Live Chat Increase During Lockdown

Live chat has become the communication method of choice for business enquiries during lockdown. With face to face customer service on pause and many large...

 Read Full Article
How Will Catering Change When we Return to our Offices?

Concerned about how post-lockdown office catering might work? Dean Kennett from Fooditude tells us how it can be done safely. Dean Kennett is the founder of Fooditude,...

 Read Full Article
49 Per Cent of Commuters Plan to use Their Own Vehicle, as Travel Habits Shift

COVID-19 will revolutionise the way we commute, stemming from a lack of confidence in public transport, says Addison Lee. Research shows that 6 out of 10 London...

 Read Full Article
Workplace Risk Assessments, Dealing with Threatening Behaviour and Employee Wellbeing

Conducting a risk assessment is not just about adjusting furniture to fit in with social distancing or stricter cleaning measures. Louise Hosking, Vice President of IOSH,...

 Read Full Article
How to Make Returning to the Office More Palatable for Employees

Angela Love discusses how business leaders can help alleviate employee anxiety surrounding the return to work, and the close connection between FM and HR. Love is a...

 Read Full Article