Two-thirds of Americans working from home can’t recognize anyone they work with

New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Volley reveals the social impact of being away from the workplace for over a year (Photo by Yasmina H on Unsplash).

More than a year after switching to remote work, seven in 10 employees are feeling more isolated, compared to being in the office.

That’s according to a recent survey of 2,000 work-from-home Americans, which explored the social impact of being away from the workplace for over a year.

Many reported missing simple things such as face-to-face meetings (39%), office celebrations (35%), and after-work happy hours (34%).

And it hasn’t been any easier for people who have recently started a remote position.

A mere 4% of new hires said the virtual onboarding process wasn’t difficult, compared to in-person training. Many attributed this to not knowing how to connect with their colleagues.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Volley, the survey also found 63% felt less engaged with their team, as the average employee felt disconnected by August 2020.

Only 14% of respondents said they’re more confident when it comes to socializing with their colleagues.

About the same number (16%) believe sudden in-office gatherings wouldn’t be awkward, as 82% of respondents who would find it uncomfortable have avoided attending them solely for that reason.

Additionally, two-thirds said they work directly with someone who they wouldn’t be able to pick out of a lineup and recognize by name only.

So how can teams address this? Three in five find something lacking in the quality of communication with their co-workers, and 77% agree better communication leads to better work culture.

“The two main challenges with remote work are lack of communication and loneliness,” said Josh Little, Founder & CEO of Volley. “We hear those concerns every day. It’s why people go searching for a solution like Volley — to improve communication and increase connection.”

As the average employee switches between three work communication tools throughout their day, only 13% said they’re not overwhelmed by the number of messages in their inbox.

More than three in five (64%) percent find chat and email communication more difficult than face-to-face meetings, as 72% believe it’s not only what you say, but how you say it that matters.

Though nearly all workers (91%) retype messages and emails for clarity at least once a day, 87% experience miscommunications weekly and nearly half (47%) said this occurs four or more times every week.

While dealing with the challenges of chatting and emailing, only 15% have seen their time spent in meetings decrease since the pandemic.

In fact, more than seven in 10 (73%) default to video calls whenever they’re looking to communicate something important.

“The data shows that the existing communication tools aren’t cutting it,” continued Little. “They were built for an old world with different needs. Today’s teams need a new way to communicate that gives them the richness of face-to-face interaction in an asynchronous format. That’s what we’re focused on.”

WHAT REMOTE WORKERS MISS ABOUT WORKING IN PERSON

  • Face-to-face meeting (39%)
  • Office celebrations (35%)
  • After-work happy hours (34%)
  • Nearby restaurants (32%)
  • Office banter (32%)
  • Workplace pranks (31%)
  • Commute to/from work (30%)
  • Less work materials in home/room space (28%)
  • Less email/chat conversations (27%)
  • “Water cooler conversations (27%)
  • Volunteering/charity events (27%)

MISHAPS ENCOUNTERED WHILE WORKING FROM HOME

  • Typed out a message but forgot to press “send” (36%)
  • Power/internet outage (31%)
  • Left the camera or microphone on after a meeting (31%)
  • Accidentally hit “reply all” to email not meant for entire group (31%)
  • Accidentally called or messaged the entire team (30%)
  • Messaged the wrong person (30%)
  • Entered the wrong video conference room (28%)
  • Damaged work phone/computer (24%)

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