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Remote-Workforce Challenges Include Employee Engagement and Productivity

Michigan Business Network
June 1, 2020 1:00 PM

0 (2)According to survey conducted by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based firm Sigred Solutions survey concludes employers need strong communication, policies and procedures to succeed in new normal. Jeffrey Mosher caught up with Mike Dergis, Founder and Partner, of Sigred Solutions of Ann Arbor, MI to discuss this survey. 

To hear Mike and Jeffrey review the survey, click play on the podcast shared below: 

For further information here was their recent release –  According to results from a recent survey among business owners and employees conducted by Sigred Solutions, a retained management recruiting and leadership advisory firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich., employers will need strong communication, policies and procedures to manage employee engagement and productivity in industries that can support a long-term remote-workforce.

Sigred Solutions conducted the survey completed by more than 100 employers and employees adapting to the COVID-19 disruption. Survey respondents included a mix of employers and employees from Michigan and across the United States as well as Europe and Asia. The survey was conducted between March 25 and April 25, 2020. 

“The COVID-19 crisis will have a lasting impact on people and on our approach to work, as well as our approach to socializing,” said Mike Dergis, Founder and Partner, Sigred Solutions. 

Maintaining Engagement

Dergis said he was surprised to see 41 percent of Generation X feel more engaged now than before the crisis, with 34 percent feeling less engaged. Millennials (most of whom are digital natives) have felt the least impact on their engagement. A full 55 percent of millennials report no changes to their engagement level. The biggest negative impact has been on Baby Boomers with 45 percent reporting that they feel less engaged today. 

Maintaining engagement in an era of remote work will be a challenge for employers and employees alike. The survey identified the following top three drivers of workplace satisfaction: the ability to have an impact; work/life balance; and having a sense of responsibility. 

“By measuring the engagement of your employees and understanding what is most important to them, you can coach your leaders to make changes that will impact your employees’ engagement and drive improvements to your bottom-line,” Dergis added. 

Managing productivity

“The word ‘productivity’ may need to be redefined in an era where a larger percent of the workforce is working remotely, said Kristi Stepp, Partner, Sigred Solutions. “As employers set up employees to work from home, it is key to set expectations and develop an understanding of the goals (both in terms of deliverables and deadlines).” 

Stepp pointed out the responses to the question about productivity were a little surprising. Only 40 percent of the respondents felt less productive today than before the crisis. However, the feeling about productivity gains and losses varied significantly by generation. Thirty-six percent of millennials agreed that they were more productive now, with 25 percent Generation X feeling the same way. Only 14 percent of Baby Boomers feel more productive today (and a full 48 percent feel less productive). 

Employees, especially Baby Boomers and Generation X, that are used to measuring their productivity by the time they spend in the office, no longer have a convenient measuring stick. Managers who gauge their employees’ productivity by “face-time” are similarly disoriented.

Without “face-time” at work, outcomes become the key to determining success. Employees and managers need support to define expectations of productivity and to find a balance between supportive leadership and micro-management. 

Expectations Going Forward

The survey confirmed Baby Boomers and Generation X expect that they will be working from home up to 50 percent of the time. Millennials expect to see a 72 percent jump in time spent working from home (to 36 percent). 

“As stay-at-home restrictions begin to ease, employers need to create policies and procedures to succeed in the new normal,” added Stepp. “We expect the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis to force leaders to address several challenges as they develop long-term strategies for their employees.” 

To request a copy of the survey results, please visit: https://www.sigredsolutions.com/covid-19 

About Sigred Solutions
Sigred Solutions is a retained management recruitment and leadership advisory firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Our mission is to drive the prosperity of great employers by connecting and developing amazing leadership talent. For more information, visit www.sigredsolutions.com 

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Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.