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Knowing WFH Preferences Key to Employee Recruitment and Retention

Knowing WFH Preferences Key to Employee Recruitment and Retention Bruce Orcutt / 25 Aug 2020 / AI / Culture / Productivity employee recruitment and retention

It’s no secret that there’s substantial competition in the tech industry for great talent. Understanding what motivates employees and what type of work environments they prefer can go a long way in attracting the best tech talent.

As a result of the pandemic impacting the future of work, major tech companies are taking note and implementing policies that allow for greater flexibility and are now bolstering their Work from Home options. For example, Twitter recently announced a new policy allowing employees to work from home forever. Facebook and Google also extended their remote opportunities for employees through the end of the year and summer 2021, respectively.

When organizations listen to and understand their workforce’s preferences about what type of work environment drives motivation, productivity and work satisfaction, it enables them to create a work culture in which employees are engaged, which is especially vital during times of disruption and fundamental change.

New trends in WFH preferences

According to a Gallup poll, 62% of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the COVID-19 crisis. Of those, three in five would prefer to continue working remotely even once current health restrictions are lifted.

In a recent global survey from ABBYY evaluates the ways that quarantine has changed the way employees work. Respondents (53%) said that going forward, they would prefer an arrangement that enables flexibility between working from home and working in the office. Many indicated they prefer either splitting their time 50/50 or working mostly from home with some days in the office.

Employees cite greater productivity working from home

The ABBYY survey found that 43% of respondents noted they were more productive working from home than in an office. Other studies have also found increased employee productivity in remote environments. A Stanford study found gains of up to 22% when it came to employee performance and productivity while working from home.

Reducing employee attrition rates

In the Stanford research, employees who worked from home noted improved work satisfaction, and their attrition rate halved. Employee motivation can play a key role in overall work satisfaction levels. In the ABBYY study, 35% of respondents said they felt more motivated working from home than in an office. Furthermore, almost half (44%) of respondents said that working from home has decreased their overall stress levels. Understanding what motivates employees helps organizations to effectively develop work cultures, policies, and structures that enhance employee retention rates and can also help attract the best talent.

Enhanced work-life balance

Work-life balance has always been a prime concern for employees. Even more so now as the lines between professional life and personal life become blurred with many employees balancing homeschooling their children and managing new household responsibilities all while learning to work in, what is for many, a new type of environment.

One of the most significant advantages for employees in being able to work from home is increased time with family and loved ones. In the ABBYY survey, half of the respondents (50%) noted that spending more time with their families was one of the most significant advantages of being able to work from home. The majority of respondents (56%) also noted that working from home has impacted their work-life balance positively.

Improving the employee experience

Work from Home Preferences Have Evolved as a Result of the Pandemic

The recent disruption in traditional office structures has led many organizations to re-evaluate many longstanding notions of standard work structures and consider new ways to enhance the employee experience and productivity.

Organizations that motivate their employees and create a desirable work environment empower employees to contribute at their highest level. In some organizations, business leaders have accomplished this by reducing or eliminating mundane, repetitive tasks from employee workflows by leveraging automation.

For example, many banks have recently accelerated the adoption of automation tools such as robotic process automation (RPA) and content intelligence to free their employees from paperwork-heavy and time-consuming tasks of data entry, sifting through paperwork, preparing loan applications and processing supporting documentation. This has freed a significant degree of employee time and employer resources.

Understanding what motivates employees can go a long way in attracting the best tech talent.

Recent research from IDC reveals that in the next two years, 18% of administrative tasks will be performed by software robots. Leveraging automation tools to automate repetitive, mundane tasks can go a long way in enabling employees to focus on creative, engaging and meaningful responsibilities.

In addition to freeing employees from tedious administrative responsibilities, automation tools can also help employees make better decisions. The IDC research also found that technology evaluating information will grow by 28% in two years.

Automation can also help provide employees with new capabilities. Equipping employees with new skills via easy-to-use low-code automation solutions strengthen their role as citizen developers and empowers them to assume a greater role in enterprise digital transformation initiatives.

Thriving in the new era of work

The overnight shift to WFH highlighted the many inefficiencies with internal workflows and business processes, and that most staff do not follow processes very often. To identify which processes would be the best fit for automation opportunities, and how the staff interacts with them, it’s valuable to have visibility into all operations across the organization.

However, trying to do so manually or with standalone systems is often insufficient. Innovative technology has emerged, such as process intelligence tools, that leverage an organization’s real-time data to provide a bird’s eye view into its ecosystem of processes. This enables leaders to enhance process efficiencies and choose the best processes for automation that free employees from repetitive tasks and enhance the employee experience.

The future of work is changing rapidly. Organizations that are agile, able to adapt quickly, and create engaging work environments that motivate their employees and attract the best talent will be well-positioned to lead in the new era of work.

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Bruce Orcutt

Bruce Orcutt

Bruce Orcutt is VP of Product Marketing at ABBYY, a Digital Intelligence company. He helps organizations to gain complete understanding of their business and raise their Digital IQ.

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