During difficult times, leadership and culture make or break a business. The pandemic has forced many businesses to begin operating remotely, and many of these businesses have never existed outside of a physical location before. There is a learning curve for management and employees alike. But what we are learning is that we are capable of growth, and the growth we experience now is going to determine how and whether we can bring our companies through these difficult times to thrive going forward. To build a solid foundation, we have to start with leadership and culture that is built on trust.
Remote Work Is the New Normal
Before the pandemic, about 10 percent of American workers worked remotely at least a few days a month. As businesses shut down and sent workers home, that figure skyrocketed to as much as 67 percent by some estimates. Many of those thrust into remote work had to figure it out as they went, and many of those workers also had to do so while simultaneously homeschooling kids. To say these were not optimal circumstances on which to build remote work movement is an understatement. But, as they do, workers got it done and kept businesses going that would have otherwise had to shut down.
And here’s where leadership and culture come in. For some of those workers, the transition was made more stressful and more difficult than it needed to be because of unreasonable and unrealistic requests from management. One media outlet demanded that all reporters answer every call immediately even from unknown numbers. Some companies gave workers a choice of downloading spy software that would count keystrokes and mouse clicks and report changes and productivity to management. Still other companies asked workers to keep video conference lines open so management could periodically look in on them.
Unfortunately, this is not the way to achieve optimal productivity from a remote workforce. Cultivating a culture of trust is crucial at this juncture to ensure companies perform well and continue to exist after the economy begins to rebound. Trust is also crucial for employees’ health and productivity.
The Power of Trust
Cultivating a culture of trust takes time, but it pays off for everyone involved. Employees who feel trusted at work report:
- 106 percent more energy at work
- 76 percent greater engagement in work tasks
- 74 percent reduction in stress levels
- 40 percent decreased likelihood of feeling burned out
- 29 percent higher satisfaction in life overall.
Having a workforce motivated by positive culture and leadership pays off for companies too. Some 82 percent of remote workers say they feel more trusted by their employers, and because of that trust there is a 15 percent spike in productivity among remote workers.
Three-quarters (76 percent) of workers report their best days at work are when they are able to make progress toward goals, so why shouldn’t your workplace culture and leadership focus on building trust in the workplace?