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Lack of Communication Leaving Virtual Workers Feeling Disconnected

For as long as companies have had headquarters with satellite operations, employees in those outlying locations have struggled with the sense of separation.

Self-described “red-headed step children,” employees in outlying offices see their counterparts at the home office as being favored for access to inside information and promotions.

A new chapter of separation has been written over the past 20 years. We have churned out innovations in telecommunications that allow for a large population of people who work virtually from every corner of the globe.

No doubt, there are great benefits to working virtually: lower overhead for the company and flexibility for the employee, to name the top two. In addition, smaller companies can market themselves as being global—for example, the London “office” might be the address of one consultant.

Behind Interact Report Volume 1

Interact’s core mission is to help people make the kind of meaningful, human connections that build trust and influence.

That mission seems a bit less daunting for people who can interact with one another face-to-face, but what about workers who must interact virtually?

Overcoming Geographical Separation but..

Technology is rapidly overcoming all geographical separation, but are we overcoming the impact of human separation? Do managers understand how to connect with virtual workers to keep them happy and productive?

We joined with Harris Poll in October of 2014 to conduct an online survey among 2,026 adults, 63% of whom had worked virtually.

According to our survey, over two-thirds (69%) of American employees who have ever worked virtually agree that the kind of communication that could keep them engaged in their work is woefully lacking.

Fifty percent report feeling disconnected from their colleagues and 53% indicate they have to work twice as hard as those in the office to make connections within their organization.

Perhaps most alarmingly, 55% of American employees who have worked virtually say their boss communicated with them almost exclusively by email.

Email is not connection. Email does not build relationships.

Employees with a dependence on email alone cannot take ownership of the mission, goals or big picture, which is the minimum requirement for the kind of engagement that impacts a company’s bottom line.

The pattern of human communication is established at the top. In order to keep their employees engaged and ensure productivity and growth, executives must be strategic about building a sense of connectedness with virtual workers.

We offer solutions in the Interact Report V1.