Is productivity paranoia spreading?

Only 24% of employees trust co-workers to do work from home, but 94% of employees believe managers trust them to do their work from anywhere, a new Envoy survey finds.

Hybrid working after the covid-19 crisis, employees' choice to work remotely from home or in the on-site office for the best productivity and results approach, businessman with hybrid clothing work from both home and office.
Image: Nuthawut/Adobe Stock

Productivity paranoia is a byproduct of the shift to working from anywhere, according to a new report from workplace platform provider Envoy. According to the report, 94% of workers believe their managers trust them to do their work from anywhere, although only 24% trust their coworkers to do their work remotely.

According to Larry Gadea, CEO and founder of Envoy, there’s no doubt that workplace culture has taken a hit over the past few years.

“Less visibility in the office distorts perceptions and breeds distrust of everyone and everything, from leadership to churn,” Gadea said. “Managers now recognize that personal relationships and trust with employees are key to getting the job done right, especially in today’s environment,” he added.


Age is a factor

According to the report, only 57% of Gen Z feel they trust their managers, compared to 71% of Millennials and 77% of Baby Boomers. 31 percent of Generation AZ trust their colleagues to work outside the office. Only 23% of Millennials, 26% of Gen Xers, and 17% of Boomers feel the same way.

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The report also found that 34% of hybrid employees trust their colleagues to do more work remotely, compared to just 10% of full-time office workers.

Teamwork means more than individual performance

More than half (54%) of office workers said their managers value group productivity over individual performance.

According to the report, men (58%) and Gen Zs (59%) are more likely to believe that managers prioritize group productivity over individual performance. Only 49% of their female peers and 53% of their Millennial peers think similarly.

“When they are physically present, teams can adapt and solve complex problems faster and more effectively than they can in isolation,” Gadea said.

The best tasks can be done in the office

Almost all employees (98%) said they believe certain work activities are better done in the office than remotely. At the top of the list are training and onboarding (54%), problem solving (53%) and collaboration or brainstorming (50%). At the bottom of the list are conflict management (37%) and meeting with people outside the organization (35%).

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The rise of micromanagement of office workers

Although the majority of employees surveyed believe their managers trust them, 44% of respondents said they have seen an uptick in micromanagement since returning to work. 38 percent of respondents say micromanagement is the same whether in the office or remotely, and 18 percent said that managerial behavior has decreased since returning.

Employee recommendations for employers

This latest Envoy report finds that with economic pressures and continued layoffs, most workers see office visibility as a critical asset. 92% of respondents said that showing up at the office improves their job security, even if only slightly. Almost one in five (38%) said they believed it would significantly increase their ability to retain their position.

When asked what changes would help their company succeed during a possible recession, 56% of employees pointed to improving operational efficiency. 53 percent of respondents said that more flexibility for people means change, while 44 percent believe that a greater focus on company culture or strengths will help the company survive. Only 40% mentioned layoffs, executive pay cuts, or other cost-cutting measures.

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“The employees are right,” Gadea said. “The top three priorities on every workplace leader’s list are efficiency, effectiveness and greater efficiency. We see the use of workplace data growing exponentially. Managers are looking to get the most ROI from their space layout – and aggregated data can help measure strategy effectiveness or rent savings.”

Survey methodology

Envoy partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 US office workers who work in a physical workplace at least one day a week. “Office workers” means full-time employees, excluding those in the position of director or above. The responses to the survey were collected between December 12 and 21, 2022.

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