At Work: bridging gaps in the workplace
The workplace is a space for people to come together and work towards a common goal. A shared vision among employees and executives can fuel the success of a business. But what happens when these parties don’t see eye-to-eye on the role of the workplace itself?
Employees and executives have differing views when it comes to the world of work. Gaps between these two groups isn’t a new story. But it’s become far more important for executives and workplace leaders to understand what those gaps are, so they can bridge them and build alignment. After surveying 2000 employees and 500 executives in the US and the UK, we uncovered major discrepancies between how these groups saw office taboos, return-to-office deal breakers, proximity bias and more.
Closing these gaps isn’t easy, but workplace leaders across the globe are doing it successfully. We wanted to find out what real workplace leaders were doing to close some of the gaps in their workplaces. So we chatted with Emily Day, Director of Workplace Experience at Hashicorp, Max Cardinale, Vice President at Thermal Shipping Solutions, and Annette Reavis, Chief People Officer at Envoy. These workplace experts share their first-hand experiences and practical advice on how to make the workplace work for everyone.
Watch the videos to hear how Day, Cardinale, and Reavis are bridging the gaps between employees and executives on issues including proximity bias, office taboos & flexibility, deal breakers for returning to the office, and the purpose of the workplace.
How are workplace leaders addressing proximity bias in the workplace?
Proximity bias is the workplace phenomenon that occurs when people notice the contributions of those sitting near them in an office more than those who are working remotely. According to our workplace survey, 96% of executives admit to falling into the proximity bias trap. And 44% of employees believe that their at-home contributions are noticed just as much as their in-office contributions. This gap in perception can have a significant impact on employees who are looking to grow their career or get recognition from their managers.
So how can workplace leaders overcome proximity bias? We asked Day, Cardinale, and Reavis how they navigate proximity bias in their own workplaces. Take a listen.
Director of Workplace Experience at Hashicorp
How are workplace leaders offering more flexibility in the workplace?
The once “normal” day at the office has changed a lot. Employees are not bound to a desk from 9 – 5. They can step out to run personal errands or take a social break at the office. However, according to our report, many employees are still worried that doing these things is going to reflect poorly on them in front of their managers. In fact, 66% of employees say there is a stigma around leaving early or coming in later, while only 49% of executives would view this negatively.
We asked Day, Cardinale, and Reavis how they felt about traditional office stigmas and how they’re helping employees be less worried about them. Plus, we asked them how they’re empowering employees to have more flexibility in their workday. Here’s what they had to say.
Vice President at Thermal Shipping Solutions
How are workplace leaders helping employees overcome their deal breakers for returning to the office?
Companies that are open in full swing are learning that employees still have hesitations about coming back to the workplace. For some, the commute is a major barrier. For others, it’s slow wifi in the office. According to our report, executives might not always have the best pulse on what the biggest deal breakers are for employees. 33% of employees cite chatty coworkers as a deal breaker, but only 27% of executives think it’s a deal breaker. On the other hand, 28% of executives think the lack of opportunities to socialize stops employees from coming to work, but only 12% of employees say it would.
We asked Day, Cardinale, and Reavis how they’re helping employees overcome their barriers to returning to the office.
Director of Workplace Experience at Hashicorp
What is the purpose of the workplace?
Employees and executives aren’t always aligned when it comes to the “why” behind returning to the office. While 61% of employees believe the purpose of the workplace is productivity, 46% of executives say the purpose is relationship-building.
We asked Day, Cardinale, and Reavis what they believe is the primary purpose of the workplace. Is it a place for productivity, relationship-building, or a combination of both?
Chief People Officer at Envoy
There’s no one right way to build a great workplace. Day, Cardinale, Reavis, and the thousands of other workplace leaders navigating return-to-office are all trying unique and new ways to bridge the gaps between executives and employees. While some leaders are experimenting with office perks, others are trying strategies to reduce proximity bias. Some leaders are hosting virtual team-bonding events, and others are offering more flexible work hours. The key to creating a more cohesive workplace is to understand employees’ pain points and goals and make intentional efforts to close the gaps.
Want to talk about how technology can help you bridge the gaps in your workplace? Our team is ready to chat about how Envoy’s workplace platform can better connect people to their workplace.