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Are you suffering from remote performance anxiety?

September 1, 2021, 10:00 AM UTC

Good morning,

Remote work and hybrid work are seemingly becoming the norm. But not all executives are convinced that their staff will effectively perform, and some employees have lost their jobs over tech glitches. 

Wakefield Research and Vyopta, which offers a cloud-based platform to monitor video and web collaboration, released a report on the topic on August 31. The data is based on a survey of 200 U.S. executives with a minimum seniority of VP at companies with 500 or more employees conducted between July 30 and August 10. Just a third of executives said they fully trust their staff in the tech-related tasks that come with remote work. That said, 72% said in the next 12 months, they plan to maintain or expand the number of employees working a hybrid schedule

During virtual meetings, hiccups like a faulty internet connection seem to be commonplace. But some employees have paid a steep price. About 83% of executives surveyed said a staff member has received disciplinary action for an error during an audio or video conference call, according to the report. More than half (53%) said the responsibility for setting up calls was redistributed to another staff member. Meanwhile, 40% said an informal reprimand was given, 38% indicated a formal reprimand, 33% said the employee was removed from a project, and 24% said the individual was fired. Some execs said the error affected the bottom line. About 41% have missed a project deadline because of technology or connection issues, according to Wakefield Research and Vyopta.

Courtesy of Wakefield Research and Vyopta

So, what’s the underlying cause of the lack of trust by executives? It may be due to a communication gap and undefined protocols, says Vyopta CEO Alfredo Ramirez. “Many businesses have not defined and communicated their expectations for remote and hybrid work simply because they are still trying to figure out what makes sense for their company and culture,” Ramirez told me. 

But even without a defined policy, employees are expected to conquer tech hurdles. About 58% of execs said the company is responsible for ensuring remote technology is functioning properly—and 42% said employees. 

“We recommend creating a written policy that is simple, clear, and flexible,” Ramirez says. The policy should also “evolve to optimize the changing needs and reality of the business and workforce while supporting company culture,” he says. 

Being reprimanded for a tech error most likely won’t enhance morale, especially since employee engagement is key in the war for talent, according to McKinsey research. And execs like CFOs are increasingly focusing on enhancing company culture to stay competitive. In a June opinion piece for Fortune on why some leaders are resisting hybrid work models, Gleb Tsipursky, a behavioral scientist, said the workplace post-pandemic “will require the realignment of employer-employee expectations.” Using research-based strategies can help leaders to “overcome their gut reactions that cause them to fall victim to mental oversights,” Tsipursky wrote.

To meet the tech capabilities of a remote or hybrid workforce, continual training is needed, Ramirez says. He offers three areas companies should focus on: how to use the technology effectively and efficiently, adopting best practices for collaborative teamwork and individual work, and monitoring and measuring key performance metrics.

“This is crucial and allows companies to keep pace with rapid changes in the market, in the technology space, and within their own organizations,” he says. 


See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com

Big deal

The Federal Reserve released a report on August 31 that found three out of every four businesses now consider it important to offer faster payments, such as electronic payment services like digital wallet apps, that can provide funds to the payee within seconds, according to the report. Nearly nine in 10 businesses expect to be making and receiving faster payments by 2023, the survey found. The majority of respondents cited the ability to access funds immediately as among the benefits of faster payments. The survey is based on the responses of 2,000 businesses in various industries with annual revenues ranging from less than $1 million to more than $250 million.

Going deeper

Securing the New Hybrid Workplace, a report released on August 31 by Entrust, a software and credential company, gauges the experiences of employees and business leaders. The majority of respondents are at companies with a remote workforce, are using hybrid models, or considering implementing one. But 54% of employees reported up to six instances of lost productivity due to network access issues. Among their top security challenges, leaders cited home internet security (21%) and leakage of sensitive company data (20%). Entrust surveyed 1,500 business leaders and 1,500 general employees from 10 countries.

Leaderboard

Pamela Yanchik Connealy, MBA, was named the first CFO at Pyxis Oncology, a developer of antibody therapeutics. Connealy will lead the finance, investor relations and human resources functions bringing 25 years of experience. She most recently served as CFO and CHRO at Immunovant. Connealy also worked as CFO and COO at Kiva.

Steven M. Plumb, CPA, was named CFO at Metrospaces, Inc., a real estate investment and development company. Plumb most recently served as CFO as Artella Solutions, Inc., a medical device company, and has served in a similar role at DirectView Holdings, Inc., ProBility Media Corp., and Bering Exploration, Inc. Plumb is also a former auditor with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and KPMG.

Overheard

 "I think that one more good job report, if it's in the 850,000 to 1 million [range], will be sufficient to claim substantial progress in employment."

—Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller, as told to Yahoo Finance

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