Productivity rises with remote working — PwC survey
… but worker trust and workload pose challenges for companiesWednesday, December 01, 2021
New research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that as many companies have boosted workforce productivity and performance during the novel coronavirus pandemic, cultural and leadership speed bumps have arisen that are inhibiting the creation of strong workforce strategies.
Remote and hybrid working has provided a short-term productivity boost in most workplaces, with 46 per cent of respondents in the Caribbean, versus 56 per cent globally, indicating that their organisation performed better against workforce performance and productivity targets over the past 12 months.
However, productivity and performance gains may have come at the expense of longer-term employee trust.
Half of business and human resource (HR) leaders surveyed strongly believe their organisation is building high levels of trust between workers and their direct supervisors.
According to the report, burnout may be partially responsible for the number not being higher — nearly 80 per cent are not fully confident workload is manageable enough for employees to make full use of personal time.
Nonetheless, digitisation continues to be a top concern for leaders, and there is currently a gap between the heightened role technology will play in the workforce strategy and an understanding of the risks, PwC said.
Only seven per cent of Caribbean leaders (compare to 21 per cent globally) strongly agreed they can identify the potential risks caused by decisions to replace human work with technology.
Furthermore, only 12 per cent of respondents in the Caribbean (25 per cent globally) strongly agreed they communicate clearly and consistently to employees and other stakeholders about the impact of automation and artificial intelligence.
A third of the HR and business leaders surveyed say it's very important to identify the skills the organisation will need in the future due to technological change but only 12 per cent (26 per cent globally) strongly agree they can currently do this.
Consulting leader, PwC Jamaica, Adrian Tait, said, “Our survey reveals that building trust while using data and technology that is human-centred, remains fundamental to workforce strategy. Digitisation and automation, cost pressures, talent shortages, distrust, and burnout — a confluence of factors is impacting the workplace today”.
He added that “lukewarm” agreement or action will not address today's biggest workforce risks and Caribbean organisations must act quickly and decisively to strengthen their organisations and prepare for the future of work, which includes accounting for the impact of technology on human work.
The global survey draws upon the views of almost 4,000 business and HR leaders across 28 industry sectors and from 26 countries and regions, including the Caribbean.