Remote work is being perceived in a negative light by employees and supervisors, according to research released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The majority (67%) of those who supervise remote workers said they find them easier to replace than onsite workers, while 62% believe full-time remote work is harmful to workers’ career.
The research revealed that the majority of employees (59%) are concerned that networking opportunities dwindle with remote work, and 55% believe work relationships suffer. Almost a quarter (23%) of women surveyed believe they wouldn’t have the opportunity to form strong work relationships while working remotely, compared with 18% of men.
Higher costs are also a concern. The majority of employees (61%) reported paying out-of-pocket for furniture or equipment needed to work remotely, with 51% saying they spent between $100 and $499.
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM’s president and chief executive officer, said that, while COVID-19 forced a leap to remote work for many, remote work simply isn’t ideal for all supervisors and workers. “Remote work can offer benefits, but employers need to take a closer look at whether remote and onsite workers have the same opportunities and whether managers have the tools they need to be effective leaders,” he said.
Many of the supervisors surveyed report that overseeing remote workers is time consuming, with 67% saying they spend more time supervising remote workers than onsite workers. Many (42%) also said that, at times, they forget about remote workers when assigning certain tasks.
“These results raise the question of who’s really winning with remote work,” Taylor commented. “HR and business leaders need to answer this question to ensure they are able to attract and retain top talent and build an equitable workforce where everyone has the ability to succeed.”