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Lenovo Report Outlines Major Trends and Challenges related to Remote Work

At Enterprise Connect 2020, Joseph Mingori (General Manager and Executive Director, Smart Office Business, Lenovo) outlined Lenovo’s findings on the major trends and challenges that employees face related to remote work. Importantly, Mingori also lists what best practices Lenovo has used to counteract these challenges in the post-pandemic world.

Lenovo’s study found that remote work had been a growing pre-pandemic trend and was accelerated by COVID-19: 80% of American employees in multinational corporations already had the ability to work either fully or partially remotely. Indeed, from 2005 to March 2020, there was a 159% increase in the capacity of these employees to work from home. Since COVID-19, 72% of these employees said that their work location has been impacted. However, 63% reported that they are more productive when working remotely.

Working remotely comes with its own challenges, though. The top pain points that the Lenovo survey identified were:

  • Concern about reduced in-person engagement with office colleagues.
  • The difficulty separating home/work life. It may be that employees are reporting higher productivity because of how much more time employees spend working when they’re at home – their work/life balance becomes blurred.
  • Distractions are higher, due to being around family, pets, and various household amenities.
  • There are now too many meetings, creating video conferencing fatigue. Not being able to see colleagues in person has caused the pendulum to swing too far the other way.
  • It’s harder to collaborate remotely. Not having the right collaboration software, for instance, directly impacts how productive employees can be. Of course, having too many collaboration tools available also stalls productivity due to end-user confusion.

To overcome these challenges, Lenovo’s findings suggest:

  • Focus on training employees on how technology folds into their tasks.
  • Deliberately create organization-wide blocks in employees’ calendars to prevent constant video conferencing. Friday afternoons, for example, could be free of video conferencing.
  • Ensure the technology being used is not a one-size-fits-all for work devices. Listen to what end users' requirements are and respond with empathy.
  • Understand that there is a large learning curve with new technologies when working from home. Account for this when rolling out an adoption plan.
  • Encourage employees to socialize virtually.

For more information, watch Lenovo’s session Enhancing Employee Experience & Engagement with Smart Work from Anywhere Collaboration Solutions (available online until December 31, 2020 at Enterprise Connect 2020).

Our Take

Lenovo’s study helpfully concretizes and validates the experiences of many remote workers. This includes highlighting concerns around experiencing video conferencing fatigue, finding collaboration solutions that meet end-user requirements, and addressing the learning curve of these solutions.

For an HR-centered approach to addressing the social issues of working from home, see Info-Tech’s Wellness and Working From Home insights. This resource focuses on helping employees maintain physical and mental health with simple practices.

On the infrastructure side, Info-Tech’s Rationalize Your Collaboration Tools offers a series of methods for collaboration tool selection. This resource includes a collaboration strategy that aims to meet end-user requirements with as rationalized a toolset as possible. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach (as Lenovo rightly points out), a rationalized toolset will result in more satisfied end users (from reducing app switching and confusion with which app to use when), increased security (from better ease in securing the end points of a unified platform), and cost savings (from phasing out redundant tools).

Furthermore, the Rationalize Your Collaboration Tools blueprint offers a series of best practices for adoption plans and the socialization of new (or old!) tools. Indeed, if video conferencing fatigue is a concern, then consider other ways to engage your target audience – from games (such as scavenger hunts to become familiar with the tool) to offering incentives and recognition for good tool use.

Need help scoping the marketspace of a team collaboration tools? Explore Info-Tech’s Data Quadrant on SoftwareReviews.

Source: SoftwareReviews Team Messaging and Collaboration Data Quadrant. Accessed September 2, 2020.

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