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Rebuilding Trust in the Post-Pandemic Work Environment

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Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, working from home has become the norm, rather than the exception, and it doesn’t appear that we’re going back to our offices any time soon. 

For the most part, employees and employers are both benefiting greatly, and enjoying the changes that come with moving from business headquarters to living quarters. As of 2021, over 42% of the American workforce are doing their jobs remotely. That’s a nearly doubled percentage from just two years ago, and over half of employees want to keep working from home long after COVID threats have dissipated. 

The vast majority of employees cite such benefits as having the right tech at their fingertips, continuing to meet project deadlines, benefiting from fewer interruptions, and feeling motivated to do their work. Employees are generally more satisfied with their jobs as well, which means lower turnover rates; and of course there’s the added benefit of decreasing vehicles on the road by 18% by having a workforce that stays home. 

The benefits to employers are also quite significant as they can save thousands of dollars in overhead costs. For instance, employers are looking at a savings of $11 thousand per part time employee and $22 thousand for full time employees. This and other remote work related savings, means that US employers are saving $700 billion per year. Even employees can “cash in” on this benefit by not spending money on food or gas as they would working from the office. Each employee can save between two and seven thousand dollars per year by working remotely. 

Despite all the benefits, there are still certainly issues to overcome with this new system of getting the job done. For instance, 41% of employers have doubts about the work ethic of their employees, which has led to an unfortunate rise in micromanagement. 

Since the COVID pandemic drove us all into our homes, many employees have noticed a shift in levels of trust from their superiors, 85% of employers are uncertain about their leadership pipelines, and 69% of managers are now uncomfortable communicating with their employees. 

Naturally, all of these issues have led to micromanagement, which is bad for everyone. One in five employees report micromanagement being the most stressful aspect of their jobs, and 69% consider changing jobs due to this factor alone. Employees see micromanagement as a problem that negatively affects their work and causes a decrease in morale. 

It’s not just an issue for employees either. Due to the effects of micromanagement on their employees, employers experience reduced productivity levels, higher turnover rates, and increased costs to replace employees. 

There are a few key elements employers can use to overcome the issues of trust and micromanagement in this new work environment. Firstly, it’s better to over communicate rather than under communicate. Be sure that everyone under your management knows exactly what is expected. Secondly, encourage employees to be communicative about their needs at work. Thirdly, consider measuring productivity rather than hours logged. Fourth, use AI to streamline open communication and save money. 

Building a culture of trust and communication is key to a healthy work environment.  

CEO of Penske Media Group. Experienced Content Editor with a demonstrated history of working in the newspaper industry. Spoken on stages around the globe - NYU, US Embassy, P&G Toronto, and much more.

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