Bosses speak about challenges and successes of working from home

Most organisations will adopt a hybrid model of working in the future.

Company executives interviewed about the hybrid way of working say they prioritise wellness among their staff. BCG and Spencer Stuart interviewed the CEOs of 13 companies in South Africa, who shared their perspectives about working from home.

According to the survey, the CEOs make wellness, especially mental wellness a priority across the organisation. “They enable employees to recharge. Moreover, they find creative ways to connect in person and share personal messages and stories widely,” say BCG and Spencer Stuart.

One of the CEOs surveyed said he took up running and golf to support physical wellness endeavours and create personal bonds with colleagues outside of work.

“A third started sending out a weekly email with tips from colleagues on how to thrive during remote working. He said that the email series has made employees feel more connected,” the survey reads.

The survey notes that leaders in many industries have the preconceived notion that working outside the office affects productivity because there is less transparency and control. “But only 40% of our CEOs said that efficiency and productivity have declined significantly. Companies in some service industries, in fact, have seen their productivity improve. For these companies, COVID-19 has provided an opportunity.”

None of the CEOs feel that accessing company information remotely compromised data security and confidentiality.

The leaders also reveal that working from home has posed a number of challenges among staff. These include facing loneliness, especially for people living on their own, back-to-back virtual meetings that don’t allow for biobreaks and mealtimes, and increased occurrence of burnout.

“You need to be more deliberate and conscious about things that were taken for granted before,” says one CEO. “We had to deconstruct things that used to come naturally.”

More than 60% of leaders, the survey says, observed that onboarding conducted remotely is less effective than in-person arrangements. “No one, in fact, was able to provide an example of a successful intervention,” the survey reads.

The majority of the leaders interviewed envision that in the future, organisations will deploy a hybrid model that leverages the advantages of both remote and in-person models.