Being allowed to spend time with children during the work day is a major success factor for remote working, a study conducted by World Wide Worx, on behalf of Cisco, has found.
The 'Remote Working in South Africa 2020' study was compiled using insights from information technology decision-makers at 400 enterprises.
Cisco commissioned the research to gain a better understanding of how South Africa is dealing with the new norm of a remote working culture – and the human factors related to this.
According to the study, more than nine out of ten (94%) decision-makers responded that they regarded it as essential to allow parents more time with their children. It ranked alongside good connectivity (93%) as being among the strongest success factors for employers.
“It stands to reason, but it’s not what employers think of first. But the finding is clear: the digitalisation of the home office must take into account the personal circumstances of the employee,” says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, who was also the lead analyst on the project.
“We were fascinated to learn that working from home didn’t significantly impact the output. Employees are still as productive as they were in the office, partly as a result of not spending time getting to the office and settling in. It suggests that an employee’s mental energy remains finite, within the context of traditional roles and tools,” says Cisco South Africa country manager Garsen Naidu.
However, a number of success factors for remote working that emerged from the study provided insight into ways organisations can look at productivity in the new normal.
The single most significant success factor underpinning continued productivity was having tasks spelled out digitally, allowing for better delegation of tasks – cited by a near-unanimous 96% of respondents. This went hand in hand with good connectivity, reported by 93% of decision-makers as a key success factor.
The availability of reliable connectivity also has implications on the stress levels of employees. Almost all information technology decision-makers (97%) reported that employees were less stressed working at home if they had reliable connectivity, compared with 87% for those who did not have adequate connectivity.
“Connectivity emerges as an important factor for success in remote working throughout the study, and illustrates that remote working only functions successfully with remote connectivity. Connectivity is the key to the digital office,” says Goldstuck.
Naidu agrees, saying that connectivity is one of three essential tools.
“To get the remote working mix right, you cannot go without these ingredients of a successful set-up at home: broadband connectivity, basic security and collaboration tools.”