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Lack Of Engagement By Remote Workers Can Lead To Their Early Termination
From:
Edward Segal, Crisis Management Expert Edward Segal, Crisis Management Expert
Washington, DC
Monday, May 2, 2022


The cover of Edward Segal's book on crisis management
 

Commentary From Crisis Management Expert Edward Segal, Bestselling Author of the Award- Winning Book "Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies " (Nicholas Brealey)

Working virtually can come with a stiff price tag: Remote workers who fail to engage properly on Zoom and other video calls to the satisfaction of their employers can find themselves out of a job.

According to the results of a study, 92% of U.S. executives said that employees who work remotely and frequently mute themselves or don't appear on camera during virtual meetings "probably don't have a long-term future at their companies."

The study was conducted by Wakefield Research for Vyopta, a digital collaboration platform. The survey of 200 executives at companies with 500 or more employees was done between March 9 and March 17.

 

Working virtually can come with a stiff price tag: Remote workers who fail to engage properly on Zoom and other video calls to the satisfaction of their employers can find themselves out of a job.

Other key findings include:

  • 96% of executives said employees who primarily work virtually are at a disadvantage over those who work mostly in a brick-and mortar-office.
  • 94% said remote employees were less connected and have fewer opportunities within the company than their office-working counterparts.
  • Executives view the lack of employee engagement as a sign of subpar performance to come: 93% of executives said employees who turn their camera off are generally less engaged in their work overall.
  • The lack of engagement opens the door to executives making assumptions about the behavior of employees. More than 2 in 5 executives (43%) suspected that those who are on mute or off-camera all the time are browsing the internet or social media, texting or chatting (40%).

Challenges

Company officials pointed to collaboration challenges as the primary reason remote employees are less engaged, Vyopta said. The top issues were over-reliance on others to be collaborative (52%), lack of access to company leadership (47%), and being less connected to colleagues and their office culture (43%).

Bad For Business

Nearly all (97%) executives said the lack of engagement in a virtual environment is bad for business across the board It can lead to slower skill development among employees, lack of collaboration across teams, and errors or mistakes that slip through the cracks because of a lack of virtual engagements, according to Vyopta.

Taking Responsibility

In the survey, some corporate executives said their organizations were not doing the best possible job helping to ensure engagements by their virtual workers.

  • Almost half of the respondents (46%) said they were not providing the tools to help their workers be as engaged as their in-person counterparts.
  • About half of the executives (49%) said C-level officials bear the most responsibility for increasing employee engagement at their companies, followed by HR (28%), and division leaders (10%).

Advice For Business Owners

  • Before terminating employees who fail to meet corporate expectations about engaging online, companies should ensure all their remote workers fully understand and appreciate the need and reasons to fully engage on Zoom and other virtual platforms.
  • Don't assume all workers know the consequences of failing to meet corporate expectations. Communicate those expectations to them regularly.

Other Issues Facing Remote Workers

The failure to engage to the satisfaction of their employers is not the only challenge facing virtual workers.

An earlier Vyopta survey found that business executives did not fully trust one-third of their remote workers to perform effectively.

Giedre Kojaliene is the head of human resources at automotive website carVertical. She said her company takes the following steps to help prevent or address other negative issues that can be associated with remote work.

Interviews

One-on-one interviews are conducted to spot signs of fatigue and lost productivity.

Unlimited Leave

Unlimited leave policy. When our employee feels tired, they can take time off to improve their well-being.

Events

Monthly live and remote events for employees. Sometimes it's a lecture about psychological well-being, personal finance management, etc. "But the point of these events is to get the employee away from his daily tasks for at least an hour and invite him to spend some quality time with his colleagues," she noted.

Communication

Open-mic events: once a month "We have a so-called open-mic event where any employee can share the progress of projects he's working on, share his last wins and failures, or simply share his professional knowledge with colleagues. It usually takes place online.

"This event is much more beneficial than newsletters or any other form of communication because in open-mic events any other employee can ask any questions immediately and this way builds an instant connection within the company."

Mentors

"The role of mentors is very important while working remotely. Although we don't have a standardized mentoring program, there is a natural relationship between senior staff and juniors, through which new strong professionals are developed.

[They] get attention, they are able to contribute more to more difficult tasks, and the senior person gets the opportunity to share their knowledge," she observed.

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Edward Segal is a crisis management expert, consultant and the bestselling author of the award-winning Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies (Nicholas Brealey). Order the book at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0827JK83Q/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Segal is a Leadership Strategy Senior Contributor for Forbes.com where he covers crisis-related news, topics and issues. Read his recent articles at https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/?sh=3c1da3e568c5.

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Name: Edward Segal
Title: Crisis Management Expert
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Dateline: Washington, DC United States
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