Survey Reveals Pandemic’s Effect on Productivity and Camaraderie

Infographic showing the pandemic’s effect on productivity and camaraderie

Productivity Rises for 87%, Relationships Suffer for 75%

Download the White Paper graphicSt. Louis March 17, 2021 – Going into the second year of the COVID-19 global pandemic, a national survey reveals the double-edged work-from-home effect: higher productivity but noticeable impact on workplace relationships and culture. These are among key findings of a new survey warning of significant challenges for business leaders in year two of the pandemic.

Corporate America will need to balance the benefits of remote and flexible workplace options with barriers to building a strong culture that come with it, cautions O’Connell Group, the nationwide executive search firm that conducted the survey.

Entering Year Two of the Pandemic Workplace

Since the March 2020 shut down, office workers and their bosses have spent a year adapting to significant changes in communication, work routines and socialization. Thousands of companies expect to remain in full or partial work-from-home mode for the foreseeable future – or even permanently.

“Adversity creates opportunity for people to evolve, and for the corporate perspective on work flexibility to evolve as well,” Dixon Smith, Managing Principal, said. “Our survey shows that many managers will need to become masters in assessing, recruiting and nurturing teams remotely.”

Survey Highlights
The Pandemic Workplace Survey reveals the benefits and costs related to workplace flexibility. 

Benefits: Productivity Doesn’t Depend on Proximity 

  • 78% allow team members to work from anywhere
  • 81% achieve business objectives
  • 87% meet timelines for deliverables 

Costs: Team Culture and Development Suffer

  • 75% see camaraderie deteriorating
  • 81% have trouble onboarding 
  • 81% see building critical relationships as difficult

For example, the Director of Strategic Marketing and Brand Management for a $2 billion transportation company said, “We’ve been incredibly focused and productive. That said, I’m now starting to see the cracks…I’m seeing gaps and communication challenges that I fear will manifest themselves moving forward.” 

The Vice President of Marketing of an organic food company, said, “Flexibility is now and will continue to be one of the most important benefits to employees. It’s easy to provide and beneficial to the P&L, but it requires stronger people managers than most companies have right now.”

“Our survey points to the critical challenges for business leaders. Even if people can do their work from home productively, the work-from-home reality means that companies need to find new, better ways to build high-performing teams and cultures,” Smith said. “Likewise, professionals will need new strategies for building critical relationships for career advancement.”

About the Survey

The Pandemic Workplace Survey reports the perspectives of 115 marketing and consumer insights leaders predominantly in the consumer packaged goods industry in October 2020. The geographic distribution of survey respondents generally aligns with the relative concentration of consumer packaged goods companies across the United States.

Contact us to talk about navigating the challenges and opportunities ahead as you recruit, retain and build team culture in the new work-from-home reality.