Remote workers' connection to companies' missions hits record low


According to a recent Gallup survey, fully remote workers appear to be particularly disconnected from their workplace's mission and purpose. This adds to the growing distance between workers and their employers in the post-pandemic era, as various trends like "quiet quitting" and "bare minimum Mondays" emerge. Interestingly, despite some employers pushing for a return to the office, the number of U.S. companies requiring full-time in-office work has been decreasing in 2023, according to a Flex Index report. 

The survey found that overall, 34% of U.S. workers feel engaged at work, a slight increase from last year. Fully remote workers reported higher levels of engagement compared to their in-office colleagues. However, the most concerning finding was that only 28% of fully remote workers strongly felt connected to their workplace's mission and purpose, which is a record low. In contrast, 35% of hybrid workers and 33% of on-site workers felt that their companies' missions made their work feel important.

This difference in engagement and connection to the workplace mission between remote and in-office workers can be attributed to the relationship with their teams, managers, and executive leadership. Remote workers may feel connected to their immediate teams through regular meetings but may lack the same level of engagement with the broader company mission. The situation also depends on whether the remote workers are employed at companies that mandate a return to the office. This can create a sense of being undervalued or treated as second-class citizens for remote workers.

Return-to-office mandates may disproportionately affect workers who require workplace flexibility due to various factors such as being parents or caregivers, having disabilities, or being people of color. Such mandates can signal to these workers that opportunities and promotions will be awarded to those who comply while disregarding their unique circumstances and needs.

In general, regardless of the work arrangement (hybrid, remote, or in-office), employee engagement tends to be below 40%. Companies should prioritize increasing employee engagement overall by focusing on trust, autonomy, and aligning work with the company's purpose. These factors play a significant role in driving employee engagement and loyalty.

Employers who push for a return to the office out of fear of "quiet quitting" risk creating a negative cycle. By implementing such policies, they signal a lack of trust in their workers, which can result in reduced effort and motivation from employees. Trust is an essential factor in fostering loyalty and inspiring employees to go the extra mile.

Overall, companies should consider the importance of employee engagement and connection to the mission and purpose of the organization. Promoting trust, autonomy, and flexibility can contribute to a more engaged and productive workforce, regardless of the work arrangement.  

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