Seven months ago, you would have been hard pressed to find an enterprise willing to seriously consider remote work as their labor model. Fast forward to today and some of the country’s largest enterprises have not only temporarily implemented work-from-home policies, but are considering embracing it for the long term. The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we work. As more of our corporate partners navigate this shift to remote work, we wanted to understand how they’re feeling about it all.
We asked 15,000 CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs across our Early Adopter’s Council and Pulse Q&A community what the most challenging part of the transition to remote work has been for them.
To our surprise, the number one perceived challenge (30% of respondents) is communication and collaboration.
After speaking with participants, we learned that the challenges around communication and collaboration have less to do with productivity and more to do with hindered creativity and innovation, specifically from the loss of these three areas:
1. Water Cooler Talk
Whether it’s for a quick break from solitary work, or a brief trip between meetings, ‘water cooler’ talk is a staple of office life. While some might see it as “wasting” time, studies have shown that great things happen outside of structured meetings. The effects of ‘water cooler’ talk have been so positive for companies like Google and Apple that they have designed their offices to encourage cross functional run-ins and ‘water cooler’ talk.
2. Nonverbal Communication
Text and video-based communication can often lead to a slowdown in the pace of collaboration across teams, especially in the early stages of projects. That’s because this type of communication is missing nonverbal cues like body language, in turn requiring over communication on the simplest of ideas. Then add in “translation time” – the time it takes for teams to fully understand the ideas being communicated without nonverbal cues – which can lead to breakdowns in communication and delays.
3. Immediate Feedback
All of these issues feed into this last one: immediate feedback. Oftentimes, when working remote, it can be hard to get immediate feedback on ideas and next steps.